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**' *»i"- '. 

King Lear 


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W 4 J ^ W 






Copyright, 1880, by J. B. Lippincott & Co. 


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• ••••«•. _••••■• ••• •• • 

• • • • •!• •• •••»•• • 

•• • •»• •• ••••••-•• • 

• ••«••• •••••••• 

• • 

Wbstcott & Thomson, 
Sttreotypcrs and Eiectrotyfiers, Pkilada. 

Lippincott's Press, 










Since these volumes, containing separate plays, are independent 
of each other, it seems necessary that a, statement of the plan on 
which they are edited should accompany each issue. This state- 
ment, however, in the present instance shall be as concise as pos- 
sible; it is to be presumed that those who are interested in this 
edition are, by this time, tolerably familiar with its scope. 

The attempt is here made to present, on the same page with the 
text, all the various readings of the different editiins of King Lear, 
from the earliest Quarto to the latest critical edition of the play, 
together with all the notes and comments thereon which the Edi- 
tor has thought worthy of preservation, not only for the purpose of 
elucidating the text, but at times as illustrations of the history of 
Shakespearian criticism. 

In the Appendix will be found essays on The Text, The Date 
of Composition, The Source of the Plot, Duration of the 
Action, Insanity, Actors, Costume, Tate's Version, selections 
from English and German Criticisms, a list of The Editions 
Collated, with the abbreviations used to denote them, the Bibli- 
ography of the Play, and an Index. 

We have two sources for the text of Lear, the Quartos and the 
Folios, both from independent manuscripts. Although we may not 
have in the Folio the very text, 'absolute in its numbers/ as Shake- 
speare ' conceived it,' yet with all its defects it is much better than 
that of the Quarto, which is evidently one of those 'stolne and sur- 
'reptitious' copies denounced by Heminge and Condell. Wherefore, 
in this edition the text of the First Folio has been virtually fol- 


lowed, bat without, it is to be trusted, an absolute surrender to that 
' modern Manicheeism, the worship of the Printer's deviL 9 Where 
the Folio is clearly defective the Quartos have been called in aid. 
Moreover, since the Quartos, ' maimed and deformed 9 though they 
be 'by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors, 9 do never- 
theless contain lines, and even a whole scene, which do not appear 
in the Folio, but are nevertheless Shakespeare's, it has not been 
deemed fitting to omit these; they have been retained in the text 
and their presence indicated by asterisks, a modification of the 
Italic of the old editors, which is due to Dr Schmidt's admirable 

Happily, the day is fast declining when it is thought necessary 
to modernise Shakespeare's text Why should it be modernised? 
We do not so treat Spenser. Is Shakespeare's text less sacred? 
A step was made when 'it' was boldly retained instead of modern* 
ising the possessive case to its. In the present edition such words 
as 'moe, 9 'and' (when it is equivalent to if), 'vilde, 9 'strook, 9 
and others, have been retained when found in the Folio. The ab- 
breviated 'th 9 has also been copied from the same edition. It is 
a source of regret that it did not occur to the Editor, until too 
late, that the modern substitution of ' than,' for then of the Folio, 
is equally uncalled for, a substitution which shall not occur in 
future volumes of this edition. 

My thanks are gladly given to Mr Norris for the Bibliography 
of English works; to my father, the Rev. Dr Furness, for his 
translations of German Criticisms; and to one other, without 
whose constant encouragement even this much of my long and 
at times most weary task would not have been accomplished; to 
her I am indebted for the Index. ^ jj p # 

M*rch % /8to. 

King Lear 


Lear, king of Britain. 

King op France. 

Duke op Burgundy. 

Duke of Cornwall. 

Duke of Albany. 5 

Earl op Kent. 

Earl of Gloucester* 

Edgar, son to Gloucester. 

Edmund, bastard son to Gloucester. 

Fool. 10 

Curan, a courtier. 

Old Man, tenant to Gloucester. 


Oswald, steward to Goneru. 

A captain employed by Edmund. 15 

Gentleman attendant on Cordelia. 


Servants to Cornwall. 

Goneril, 1 

Regan, > daughters to Lear. 20 

Cordelia, J 

Knights of Lear's train, Captains, Messengers, Soldiers, and 


Scene: Britain. 

* Dramatis Persons] Substantially by Malone. First given by Rowe. 

7. Gloucester.] Thus spelled by Staunton; all before him, Gloster, or 

14, iS. Os\VALD...Comwall.] Omitted by Rowe +. 

iS. Capell reads thus: Servants to Cornwall, three. Officers in the Troop of 
Albany, four. Messengers, two. 


King Lear 


Scene 1. King Lear's palace. 

Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund. 

Kent. I thought the king had more affected the Duke 
of Albany than Cornwall. 

Gloii. It did always seem so to us ; but now, in the 

Act i] Actus Primus. Ff. cefler Q 8 F a . Gloufter F s . 

Scene i.] Scoena Prima. F t . Scsena Edmund.] Edmond. F s F a F s< Baftard. 

Prima. F t . Scena Prima. F 3 F 4 . Qq. 

King Lear's palace.] A Palace. Rowe. 2. Albany] Albeney Q,. 

The King's Palace. Theob. A State- Cornwall] Comwell Q,. Corn* 

room in King Lear's Palace. Cap. Ec. wall Q 8 . Cornew all F a . 

Gloucester] F,. Glofler Q,F 4 . Glo- 3. so] Om. F,F S F 4 . 

The Tragedy, &c] 'Of all Shakespeare's plays/ says Coleridge, « Macbeth 
is the most rapid, Hamlet the slowest, in movement. Lear combines length with 
rapidity, — like the hurricane and the whirlpool, absorbing while it advances. It 
begins as a stormy day in summer, with brightness ; but that brightness is lurid, 
and anticipates the tempest.' 

1-6. Walker (Crit. i, 13) would read these as seven lines of verse* ending 
M' duke . . . always . . . division . . . d tk* dukes • • • poised [sic] • • • choice 
• • • moiety, < After moiety? he adds, ' there is a short pause in the conversation, 
which is resumed in prose. Yet tk* duke, in this place, seems very unlike Sh. ; and 
equalities is perhaps more in place than " qualities." ' 

2. Albany] Wricht: Holinshed (Chron. i, fol. 39 b; ed. 1577) gives the fol- 
lowing account of the origin of this name : ' The third and last part of the Island 
he allotted vnto Albanacte hys youngest sonne. • • • This later parcel at the first, 
toke the name of Albanactus, who called it Albania. But now a small portion 
onely of the Region (beyng vnder the regiment of a Duke) reteyneth the sayd 

4 KING LEAR [act I, sc. L 

division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes 4 

4. kingdom] kingdomes Qq, Coll. i. 

denomination, the reast beyng called Scotlande, of certayne Scottes that came ouer 
from Ireland to inhabite in those quarters. It is deuided from Loegres also by the 
Humber, so that Albania as Brute left it, conteyned all the north part of the Island 
that is to be found beyond the aforesayd streame, vnto the point of Cathenesse.' 

4- division] Johnson: There is something of obscurity or inaccuracy in this 
preparatory scene. The king has already divided his' kingdom, and yet when he 
enters he examines his daughters, to discover in what proportion he should divide it. 
Perhaps Kent and Gloster only were privy to his design, which he still kept in his 
own hands, to be changed or performed as subsequent reasons should determine 
him. Coleridge : It was not without forethought, nor is it without its due sigriifi 
cance, that the division of Lear's kingdom is in the first six lines of the play stated 
as a thing already determined in all its particulars, previously to the trial of profes- 
sions, as to the relative rewards of which the daughters were to be made to consider 
their several portions. The strange, yet by no means unnatural, mixture of selfish- 
ness, sensibility, and habit of feeling derived from, and fostered by, the particular 
rank and usages of the individual ; — the intense desire of being intensely beloved,— 
selfish, and yet characteristic of the selfishness of a loving and kindly nature alone;— 
the self-supportless leaning for all pleasure on another's breast ; — the craving after 
sympathy with a prodigal disinterestedness, frustrated by its own ostentation, and the 
mode and nature of its claims ;— the anxiety, the distrust, the jealousy, which more 
or less accompany all selfish affections, and are amongst the surest contradistinctions 
of mere fondness from true love, and which originate Lear's eager wish to enjoy his 
daughters' violent professions, whilst the inveterate habits of sovereignty convert 
the wish into claim and positive right, and an incompliance with it into crime and 
treason; — these facts, these passions, these moral verities, on which the whole 
tragedy is founded, are all prepared for, and will to the retrospect be found implied, 
in these first four or five lines of the play. They let us know that the trial is but a 
trick, and that the grossness of the old king's rage is in part the natural result of a 
silly trick suddenly and most unexpectedly baffled and disappointed. It may here 
be worthy of notice that Lear is the only serious performance of Shakespeare, the 
interest and situations of which are derived from the assumption of a gross improba- 
bility; whereas Beaumont and Fletcher's tragedies are, almost all of them, founded 
on some out-of-the-way accident or exception to the general experience of mankind. 
But observe the matchless judgement of our Shakespeare. First, improbable as the 
conduct of Lear is in the first scene, yet it was an old story rooted in the popular 
faith, — a thing taken for granted already, and consequently without any of the effects 
of improbability. Secondly, it is merely the canvas for the characters and passions,— 
a mere occasion for, — and not, in the manner of Beaumont and Fletcher, perpetually 
recurring as the cause and sine qua non of, — the incidents and emotions. Let the 
first scene of this play have been lost, and let it only be understood that a fond 
father had been duped by hypocritical professions of love and duty on the part of 
two daughters to disinherit the third, previously, and deservedly, more dear to him ; 
—and all the rest of the tragedy would retain its interest undiminished, and be pei* 
fectly intelligible. The accidental is nowhere the groundwork of the passions, but 
that which is catholic, which in all ages has been, and ever will be, close and native 

ACT I, sc. L] KING LEAR 5 

he values most ; for qualities are so weighed that curiosity 5 
in neither can make choice of either's moiety. 

Kent. Is not this your son, my lord ? 

Glou. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge ; I have 
so often blushed to acknowledge him that now I am brazed 

to'L 10 

Kent. I cannot conceive you. 

Glau. Sir, this young fellow's mother could ; whereupon 
she grew round-wombed, and had indeed, sir, a son for her 

5. qualities] Ff +, Knt, White, Sch. 10. to 7] F S F 4 +, Ec Knt, Dyce, Sta. 
equalities Q,Q, et cet. too 7 F S F,. to it Qq ct cet. 

6. neither] nature Q } . 13. round-wombed] round womb y d¥(. 

to the heart of man, — parental anguish from filial ingratitude, the genuineness of 
worth, though coffined in bluntness, and the execrable vileness of a smooth iniquity. 
Perhaps I ought to have added the Merchant of Venice; but here too the same 
remarks apply. It was an old tale; and substitute any other danger than that of the 
pound of flesh (the circumstance in which the improbability lies), yet all the situa- 
tions and the emotions appertaining to them remain equally excellent and appropriate. 
Whereas take away from the Mad Lover of Beaumont and Fletcher the fantastic 
hypothesis of his engagement to cut out his own heart, and have it presented to his 
mistress, and all the main scenes must go with it. Hudson : The opening thus 
forecasts Lear's madness by indicating that dotage has already got the better of his 
reason and judgment. Anon (cited by Halliwell) thinks Johnson's note is need- 
less, because * it is clear that Lear's two councillors, Kent and Gloucester, are talking 
of the division he has proposed in the secrecy of the council-board, and afterwards 
he opens his hidden (" darker") meaning to those whom it concerned (his sons and 
daughters), before ignorant of it.' 

5. qualities] Capell (Notes, &c, vol. i, part ii, p. 140) : 'Qualities' appears to 
be a printer's corruption ; both as suiting less with the context and as taking some- 
thing from the passage's numerousness. [What this ' numerousness ' exactly means 
I do not know. Capell does not print the passage as verse.] Schmidt (Zur Text- 
kritik, p. 12) : Equalities cannot be right here ; at best it can but be equality. Equal- 
ity cannot be predicated of a part by itself, but only of the relationship of parts to 
each other; it is therefore essentially a singular idea. We cannot say : 'the equal- 
ities of the three parts are perfect,' but only : « the equality,' &c. 

5. curiosity] Warburton: « Curiosity ' for exactest scrutiny. Stekvkns: That 
is, scrupulousness or captiousness. [For the pronunciation, see I, ii, 4.] 

6. moiety] Steevens : The strict sense of this is half one of two equal parts, 
but Sh. commonly uses it for any part or division. Thus, I Hen. IV; III, i, 96 :— 
• Methinks my moiety north from Burton here In quantity equals not one of yours/ 
and here the division was into three parts. Wright : It may be in the present pas- 
sage the word is used in its literal sense, for it is not clear that Gloucester knew any- 
thing of Lear's intention to include Cordelia in the distribution of the kingdom. 

7. your son] For Coleridge's fine remarks on Edmund, see Appendix, p. 419. 
9. brazed] Compare Ham. Ill, iv, 37. 



[act i, sc. L 

cradle ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell 
a fault? 15 

Kent I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it 
being so proper. 

Glou. But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some year 
elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account; though 
this knave came something saucily into the world before he 20 
was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport 
at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged. — 
Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ? 

Edm. No, my lord. 

Glou. My lord of Kent Remember him hereafter as 25 
my honourable friend. 

Edm. My services to your lordship. 

Kent I must love you, and sue to know you better. 

Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving. 

Glou. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall 30 
again. {Sennet within.'] The king is coming. 

18. a son, sir] Ff +, Knt, Coll. Del. 
Sing. Dyce, Ktly, Sch. JirafonneQQ. 
sir, a son Jen. ct cet. 

year] yeares Q 3 , Han. 

19. this] this is Jen. 

this, ...account;] Theob. this,,,, 
account, Qq, Cap. Ec. this;. ..account, Ff, 
Rowe, Pope. this,.. .account. Johns. Jen. 

20. something] fomewhat F F 4 + , Jen. 
Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Coll. Del. Wh. 

into] Q,Q 9 to Ff, Rowe, Pope, 
Theob. Warb. Johns. Knt, Sch. in Q 3 . 

21. for,. ..fair] Jen. for,,.. / aire, Qq, 
Han. Warb. Johns, for ;...f aire, Ff, 

Rowe, Pope, Theob. Warb. for;.* 
fair; Cap. Ec. Wh. 

22. whoreson] horfon F s . 

23. noble gentleman] Nobleman FJP1 
F 4 + . 

24. Edm.] Baft. Qq (and through* 

25,26. My. ..friend.] Two lines, the 
first ending Kent: in Ff + . 

29. deserving] your deserving Pope 
+ . 

31. [Sennet within] Dyce ii, Huds. ii. 
Trumpets sound, within. Theob. Warb. 
Johns. Jen. Om. QqFf. 

17. proper] Malone: Comely, handsome. 

18. some year] Warburton: Edmund afterwards [I, ii, 5] speaks of 'some 
twelve or fourteen moonshines.' Eccles : About a year. [For other instances of 
the use of some before singular substantives of time, see Schmidt, Lex. s. v.] 

20. something] For instances of something, used adverbially, like « somewhat,' 
see Abbott, § 68. 

30. out] Eccles : This circumstance serves to account fot Edmund's being un- 
acquainted with so distinguished a man at Lear's court as Kent ; indeed, for their 
mutual ignorance of each other. Gloucester appears to introduce Edmund to Kent 
for the first time, and that, probably, immediately after his return, either from travel 
or serving in the army. [See also Coleridge's note on Edmund in Appendix, 

ACT I. SC. !.] 


Sennet. Enter one bearing a coronet, King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, 
Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, and Attendants. 

Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Glou- 32 

Glou. I shall, my lord. [Exeunt Gloucester and Edmund. 

Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker purpose- 
Give me the map there. — Know that we have divided 35 
In three our kingdom ; and 'tis our fast intent 

Sennet.] Ff. Sound a Sennet, Q, 
Q,. Sunday a Cornet, Q 3 . 

Enter one bearing a coronet, 
King...Attendants.] Enter King.. .At- 
tendants. Ff. Enter one bearing a Cor- 
onet, then Lear, then the Dukes of 
Albany and Cornwell, next Gonorill, 
Regan, Cordelia, with followers. Qq. 

32. Scene 11. Pope +, Jen. 
the lords] my Lords Qq, Jen. 
Gloucester] Om. Pope, Han. 

33. my lord] Ff, Rowe, Sch. leige 
Q t . liege Q, et cet. 

[Exeunt...] Cap. Exit. Ff. Om. 

34. shall] wtV/Qq, Jen. 
purpose] purpofes Qq, Jen. 

35. Give..Jhere.] The map there ; Qfy 
Cap. Mai. Ec. Give... here. F S F 4 +. 

Know that] Know Qq, Pope+, 
Jen. Cam. Wr. 

we have] wive Dyce ii, Huds. ii. 

36. In] Into F 4 , Rowe. 

fast] first Qq, Warb. Om.Pope. 

p. 420.] Wright: Edmund has been seeking his fortune abroad, there being no 
career for him at home in consequence of his illegitimate birth. 

32. Burgundy] Walker ( Vers. p. 240) says that the pronunciation Burgogne 
(as it is spelled in the last scene, in F s , in Hen. V) would restore harmony to this 
line. But Dyce, in a note on 2 Hen. VI: I, i, 7, says that Sh., like other early dram- 
atists, considered himself at liberty occasionally to disregard the laws of metre in 
the case of proper names; e.g. a blank-verse speech in Rich. II; II, i, 284, con- 
tains the following formidable line : • Sir John Norberry, Sir Robert Waterton, and 
Francis QuoinL' [It is spelled Borgoyen in Paston Letters, Hi, 79, ed. Arber.] 

32. Gloucester] Walker ( Vers. 236) : In the Folio this name is printed Glou- 
cester t or Gloeesfer, in the stage-directions and titles of speeches ; Gloster, sometimes 
Glouster, in the text ; in either case, with very few exceptions. I speak of all the 
plays in which the name occurs ; the distinction is least observed, perhaps, in Lear. 

33. shall] For instances of the use of ' shall ' in the sense of / am bound to 
and I am sure to, and hence often used in the replies of inferiors to superiors, see 
Abbott, §315. 

darker] Warburton : That is, more secret; not indirect, oblique. JOHNSON : 
That is, we have already made known in some measure our desire of parting the 
kingdom; we will now discover what has not been told before, the reasons by 
which we shall regulate the partition. This interpretation will justify or palliate 
the exordial dialogue. 

36. fast] Edwards (Can. of Crit. p. 91, ed. 1765) : That is, determined resolu- 
tion ; first of the Qq must here signify « chief Staunton : * East intent,' signify- 
ing fixed, settled intent, is, like • darker purpose' and * constant will,' peculiarly in 
Shakespeare's manner. 



[ i. 

To shake all cares and business from our age, 37 

Conferring them on younger strengths, while we 
Unburthen'd crawl toward death. — Our son of Cornwall, — 
And you, our no less loving son of Albany, 40 

We have this hour a constant will to publish 
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife 
May be prevented now. The princes, France and Bur- 
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love, 
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn, 45 

And here are to be answered. — Tell me, my daughters, 
Since now we will divest us both of rule, 
Interest of territory, cares of state, 
Which of you shall we say doth love us most? 
That we our largest bounty may extend 50 

Where nature doth with merit challenge. — Goneril, 

37. from our age] of ourfiate Qq. 

38. Conferring] Confirming Qq. 
strengths,] yeares, Qq. 

38-43. while we.] Om. Qq. 

42. daughters*] Cap. Daughters F, 
F t , Rowe + . Daughter's F,F 4 . 

43. now] Om. Han. 

May.] One line, Coll. ii. 
The princes] The two great 
Princes Qq, Coll. ii. The Prince F,F 4 . 

44* youngest] yongeft F t . yongerF r 
younger FF 4 +. 

46. Tell me, my] Tell my FjF 4 . Tell 
me, Pope+. 

47, 48. Sincc.atate,] Om. Qq. 

48. cares] and cares Han. 

51. Where. .challenge.] Where mem 
doth rnoft challenge it: Qq, Cap. Steev. 

51,52. Goneril., .first.] One line, Qq. 

40. Albany] For instances of polysyllabic names receiving but one accent at 
the end of lines, see Abbott, § 469 ; and see also ' Goneril/ line 51, and ' Cordelia ' 
III, i, 46, and elsewhere. 
'41. constant will] Johnson: Seems a confirmation of *fast intent.* 

43. France and Burgundy] Moberly: King Lear lived, as the chronicle says, 
« in the times of Joash, king of Judah.' In III, ii, 95, Sh. himself jokes at this ex- 
travagant antiquity ; and here he appears to imagine Lear as king in the rough times 
following Charlemagne, when France and Burgundy had become separate nations. 

47. both] See Schmidt's Lex. s. v. for other instances of ' both ' being used with 
more than two nouns. 

51. nature] Steevens: That is, where the claim of merit is superadded to that 
of nature ; or where a superior degree of natural filial affection is joined to the 
claim of other merits. Crosby (Epitome of Literature, 15 May, 1879) : ' With 
merit* I take to be an adverbial phrase equivalent to ' deservedly;' and the verb to 
challenge, in addition to its sense of to contend, or vie with, has an older and less 
common meaning— viz., to make title to, or claim as due. Chaucer thus uses it, in The 
franheleyne's Tale [488, ed. Morris] : < Nat that I chalenge eny thing of right Of yow, 
my soverayn lady, but youre grace ;' and Joye, Exposition of Daniel, c. 3 (quoted by 

Acri.saL] KING LEAR 9 

Our eldest-born, speak first S 2 

Gon. Sir^ 
I love you more than word can wield the matter, 

53. Sir,] In aline by itself, Johns. you Far more.. .matter ; lev* you Cap. 

Dyce ii, Wh. Huds. it Beginning line 54. / love'] I do love Qq, Jem Cap. 

54, QqFf et cet. Erased in Coll. (MS.) Steev. Ec. Var. 

53,54. Sir, /] As closing line $$ K word] Ff,Rowe,Knt,Del.f,Sch, 

Steev. Mai. Ec. words Qq et cet. 

Sir, /...matter,] I lave you sir, widd]weUd Q f F t F t F 3 . yieldQxp 

Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Sir, I do love conj. (Var. Read, p. 20). 

Richardson), * God oftentymes by clere examples and bodely delyuerances ehalengeth 
to himself the glorye of his owne name.' In our own poet, too, cf. 3 Hen. VI: 
III, iii, 86: 'all her perfections challenge sovereignty;' IV, vi, 6: 'Subjects may 
challenge nothing of their sovereigns ;' IV, viii, 48 : * These graces challenge grace;' 
and Oth. I, iii, 188 : ' So much I challenge that I may profess due to the Moor, 
my lord ' — 1. /. claim as my right. Giving then this meaning to « challenge,' the 
passage may be properly paraphrased, ' where your natural relation to, and love for, 
me claim my bounty, by deserving it; or, in other words, ' that I may extend my 
largest bounty where your natural affection deservedly claims it as due. 9 There is no 
contention or challenge between ' nature ' and ' merit,' in which the' king's bounty is 
to be the prize; he offers it solely to ' nature,' claiming or demanding it on its own 
deserts. Ulrici (p. 443) : These words cannot possibly have been meant seriously ; 
for apart from the circumstance that they contradict the facts adduced, Lear himself 
does not act in accordance with them, but does the very opposite. • • . Obviously, 
therefore, the whole demand was but a freak of the imagination, which Lear did not 
mean to take into serious consideration, but which it occurred to him to make mere- 
ly to fill up the time till the return of Gloucester, who had been despatched to fetch 
the duke of Burgundy and the king of France. The concealed motive of this freak, 
and its execution, was probably Lear's wish* — by an open and public assurance of 
his daughters' love and piety, — to convince himself that his abdication could be 
of no -danger to himself, and that doubts about its propriety were unfounded. 
Bucknill (p. 174): That the trial is a mere trick is unquestionable; but is not 
the significance of this fact greater than Coleridge suspected ? Does it not lead 
us to conclude that from the first the king's mind is off its balance ; that the {parti- 
tion of his kingdom, involving inevitable feuds and wars, is the first act of his devel- 
oping insanity; and that the manner of its partition, the mock-trial of his daughters' 
affections, and its tragical denouement is the second, and but the second, act of his 

51. Goneril] MobsrlT: This name seems to be derived from 'Gwenar,' the 
British form of Vener (Venus). Regan is probably of the same origin as ' Rience,' 
in the Holy Grail; 'reian' meaning in the Cornish 'to give bounteously.' 

53. Sir] Collier {Notes, &c, p. 449) : This is clearly redundant, and Regan 
soon afterwards commences her speech without it. It is erased in the (MS.). 
Walker (Crit. iii, 275) suggests, but thinks it sounds very harsh as one line : 'Our 
eldest-born, speak first. Sir, I do love you more,' &c. Moberly, who follows the 
QqFf in arrangement, says that ' Sir ' is hypermetric, and represents the time taken 
on the stage for a deep reverence. Schmidt (Zur Textkritik) thinks that exple- 

IO KING LEAR [act i, sc. L 

Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty, 5$ 

Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare, 

No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour, 

As much as child e'er loved or father found ; 

A love that makes breath poor and speech unable ; 

Beyond all manner of so much I love you. 60 

Cor. [Aside] What shall Cordelia speak ? Love, and be 

Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, 

55. and] or Qq. 5& found] friend Qq. 

58. much as] much a Qq. 61. [Aside] Pope. Om. QqFf. 

/7r]Rowe. *V#F,F 4 . *r/QqF f speak t] Ff, Rowe, Knt, CoU. DcL 

F r do, Qq. dot Pope et ret 

■ — — — — ^ ^— i— — — — — — ■ 1 

tives like this are in a large measure interpolations of the actors. Even at this 
day, he says, Englishmen are fond of introducing what they are about to say with 
such little words, which, like tuning-forks, give. the key in which they intend to 

54. word] Knight and Delius (ed. 1) adopt word of Ff, and the latter justi- 
fies it by reference to III, ii, 8l, 'more in word than matter;' the note, however, is 
omitted in his second edition. Dycs in both of his eds. ascribes word to Collier's 
first ed. It is not so in my copy of that ed. The repetition of the same phrase in 
the same play ought to be a sufficient authority, I should think, for adhering to* 4 word 
of the Ff, although, to be sure, a taint of spuriousness attaches to the lines in III, 
ii, 80. Under any circumstances, ' word ' is, to me, more truly Shakespearian than 
words, Ed. 

55* space] Wright : The limits within which motion is possible. Compare Ant. 
and Chop. I, i. 34. ■' Rather,' says Schmidt (ad loc.) t * is " space," space in gen- 
eral, the. realm of external appearances, the world ; " eyesight " is the capacity to 
comprehend it; " liberty " the freedom to enjoy it. The lack of natural filial affec- 
tion could not be more clearly manifested than in such exaggerations. Regan's 
" square of sense," line 73, affords a commentary on these words of GonenL* 

60. so much] Johnson : Beyond all assignable quantity; I love you beyond limits, 
and cannot say it is so much, for how much soever I should name, it would yet be 
more. Wright: Beyond all these comparisons by which Goneril sought to measure 
her love. Schmidt (ad he) thinks the phrase would have been clear at once had 
the old editions only used quotation-marks: 'beyond all manner of " so much" I 
love you.' 

61. speak] Apart from authority, the choice of readings here seems to me to 
depend on whether we take ' Love ' and ' be silent ' as infinitives or imperatives. 
If they are infinitives, we should read ' do ' with the Qq, but if imperatives, we 
should follow the Ff. I think they are imperatives, and I am supported by Schmidt 
(Zur Textkritik, p. 12). Moreover, Knight pronounces do of the Qq feeble, be- 
cause it destroys the force of the answer: « Love, and be silent.' White and Dycs, 
on the other hand, assert that the answer plainly shows that the Qq are right and the 
Ff wrong. 

ACT I, SC i.] 



With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd, 
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, 
We make thee lady. To thine -and Albany's issue 
Be this perpetual. — What says our second daughter, 
Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall ? 

Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, 
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart 
I find she names my very deed of love ; 
Only she comes too short : that I profess 



63. shadowy] shady Qq. 

63, 64. and with...rivers] Om. Qq. 

63. champaini\ Champions F a F s F 4 , 

64. wide-skirted] white-skirted Stock- 

65. thee lady] the Lady F y 
Albany's] AlbainesQ t . Albanus 

QJF t F r AtbaenidsQ r Albanif%Y % . 
issue] iffues Ff, Knt, Sch. 

67. wife of] Ff +, Knt, Coll. Dyce ii, 
Wh. Sch. wife to Q S Q. et cet. 

Cornwall t] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Dyce 
i, Sch. Cornwell,fpeaket Q,. Corn- 
wall, fpeake. Q,. Cornwall t Speak. 
Pope et cet. 

68. I am] Sir I am Qq, Jen. Wh. 
rm Pope+. Sir, rm Dyce ii (with 
Sir in a separate line). 

68. that self metal] that f elf e-mettle 
F,F 9 . that f elf metal Y J K . the f elf e 
fame mettall Q,. the felfe-fame mettaU 


as my sister] that myfifter is Qq, 

69. worth. In...heart] worth. In 
...heart, Ff. worth in...heart 9 Qq. 
worth, in...hear(. Theob.+. worth, in 
..Mart Tyrwhitt. 

70-72. I find. ..joys] Two lines, the 
first ending short, Qq. 
71. comes too short] eamefhort Qq. 
short;] Theob. fhort, QqF£ 
Rowe, Pope, Han. Coll. Del. Wh. Mob. 
Sch. short, — Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. 
Dyce, Sta. 

that] in that Ktly. 

63. champains] Wright: Plains. Compare Deut. xi. 30 (ed. 161 1): 'the 
Canaanites, which dwell in the champion ouer against Gilgal.' In Ezekiel xxxvii. 
2, the marginal note to ' valley 9 is * or, champian.' See Twelfth Night, II, v, 174, 
where it is spelt ' champian ' in the Ff : ' Daylight and champian discovers not more.' 
In Florio we find, * Campagna, a field or a champaine.' 

67. Dycb : F t omits ' Speak ;' but Lear has concluded his address to Goneril with 
* speak first;' and he afterwards finishes that to Cordelia with « speak.' 

68. self] Compare 'self mate and mate,' IV, iii, 34; and for many other in* 
stances of the use of this word, meaning same, see Schmidt's Lex. 

69. worth] Theobald: Mr. Bishop prescribed the pointing of this passage as 
I have regulated it in the text [See Text-notes.] Regan would say that in the 
truth of her heart and affection she equals the worth of her sister. Without this 
change in the pointing, she makes a boast of herself without any cause assigned. 
Tyrwhitt paraphrases his punctuation : ' And so may you prize me at her worth, as 
in my true heart I find, that she names,' &C. Mason (p. 338) : I believe we should 
read : ' prize you at her worth ;' t . e. set the same high value on you that she does. 

70. deed of love] Eccles : Describes that kind of agency by which my own 
love operates, — the same effects of which it is productive. Delius : The formal, 
legal definition of love. Wright: That is, exactly describes my love. 

12 KING LEAR [act i, sc. i. 

Myself an enemy to all other joys 72 

Which the most precious square of sense professes, 

73. square] spirit Han. 73. professes] Ff, Rowe, Sch. pof 

square of sense] quintessence Bui- fejfes Qq et cet 

71. too short] Moberly [see Text-notes] : This means simply short. Compare 
Homer's be rd fth> 6X>jo t6oov 0oZv<f $i>,— where rdaov is in the same way superfluous. 

71. that] For in that or for that, see Abbott, $ 284 ; Ham. I, ii, 2; II, ii, 153 ; 
Mart. Ill, ii, 32. See also White's note on I, i, 167. 

73. square of sense] Warburton thinks this refers to the four nobler senses, 
sight, hearing, taste, and smell, but JOHNSON thinks it may mean only compass, com- 
prehension. Edwards (Canons of Crit. p. 170) : The full complement of all the 
senses. Holt (An Attempte, &c, 1749; Preface, p. v): Sh. evidently intends to 
describe the utmost perfection of sense (alluding to the Pythagorean Tenet, which 
held a square to be the most perfect figure). Cafell : ' Not only the extravagance 
of these sisters' professions, but the words they are dress'd in paint their hearts to 
perfection. In Regan's we have " felicitate," an affected expression, and before it a 
line that's all affectation ; the governing phrase in it is borrow' d (as thinks the edi- 
tor) from some fantastical position of the rosycrucians or cabalists, who use it in the 
sense the " Canons " have put on it, for — " the complement of all the senses." ' 
Mr. Smith (ap. Grey's Notes, &c, 1754, ii, 102) thinks that • sense ' should be sense*, 
because there were two squares referred to by Goneril ; ( the first was eye-sight, space, 
liberty, and what could be valued rich and rare ;' ' the second square is grace, health, 
beauty, honour.' ' But then Goneril says she loves the king no less than these, and 
consequently she loves these as much as she does the king. And this is the point 
in which Regan says she falls short of her. The second square is of the superla- 
tive kind of joys, and Regan professes herself an enemy to three of the joys, viz. 
health, beauty, and honour; which are, of all the other joys, the most precious square 
of sense (t. e. sense's joys) possesses; and declares that his dear Highness' love is 
the only joy of the square which she values. In this it is plain that she outdoes her 
sister Goneril.' [I think that is worth transcribing as a curiosity. — Ed.] Collier 
(A r otes, &c, p. 449) : The (MS.) gives 'sphere of sense,' which exactly conveys the 
meaning of Edward's explanation. Regan loved her father beyond all other joys in 
the round, or sphere, of sense. Singer reads sphere, and prefixes spacious instead 
of 'precious.' Of both these emendations, Blackwood's Afaga. (Oct. 1853) says that 
they are good as modernizations of Sh., but that the old text is quite intelligible ; 
'square' means compass, area [by which definition the present editor cannot see 
that any progress is gained]. White (Sh. Scholar, p*423), while discarding sphere 
for ' square,' thinks Singer's spacious is more plausible, and proposes, if change be 
made, ' spacious square,' but finds ' the original text comprehensible, with a smack 
of Sh. in it.' But by the time White published his ed. in 1861, the original text 
had become 'very obscure' to him, although he was 'by no means confident that it 
is corrupt,' adding that ' it seems to mean the entire domain of sensation.' As he 
does not in his ed. .repeat his emendation, • spacious square,' it is to be presumed he 
withdrew it. Keightlev estimated it more highly; he adopted it. Bailey (ii, 
88) has « not much doubt' that Sh. wrote ' precious treasure of sense,' because ' pre- 
cious treasure ' occurs in Rom. and Jul., I, i, 239. Objections to this emendation 

ACT I. sc. i.] KING LEAR 13 

And find I am alone felicitate 
In your dear highness 9 love. 

Cor. [Aside] Then poor Cordelia ! 75 

And yet not so, since I am sure my love's 
More ponderous than my tongue. 

74, 75. And,„Urue] One line, Qq. 76. love's] Q a Ff. hues Q,. 

74, alone] all one Q y 77. ponderous"] Ff +, Jen, Ec. Knt, 

75. [Aside] Pope. Om. QqFf. Del. Cam. Sch. richer Q% et cet. plen* 
75» 77* Then„Jongue.] Two lines, the teous Coll. (MS.). 

first endingytirf, in Qq. my tongue] their tongue Warb. 

75. Cordelia] Cord. Q,. 

on the score of metre there can be none, says Bailey, because treasure is ' on occa- 
sion condensable into a monosyllable.' Hudson: That is, fulness or wealth 0/ sen* 
suMlity or capacity of joy ; so that the meaning seems to be: Which the finest sus- 
ceptibility, or the highest capacity of happiness, can grasp or take in. Wright : 
That is, which the most delicately sensitive part of my nature is capable of enjoy* 
ihg. Mobkrly: 'The choicest estimate of sense/ as in Tro, and Cres, V, ii, 132, 
« to square the general sex By Cressid's rule.' This definition by Moberly, Schmidt 
(Zur Textkritik, p. 12) thinks is the only one that approaches the truth. He himself 
says, the phrase in question means the ' choicest symmetry of reason, the most nor- 
mal and intelligent mode of thinking. 9 Regan's love is so great that she will know 
nothing of all joys, which even a pattern of reason professes to be joys, such as, 
' eye-sight, space, liberty, life, grace, health, beauty, and honour, 9 which had just 
been extolled by her pattern sister. 

73. professes] Schmidt (Zur Texthritih, p. 13) : To object to a word because 
it occurs twice within two lines, appears to be, in the interpretation of Sh., a custom 
as ill-grounded as it is widespread, but from which, at all events, the poet himself 
was free. [Whatever meaning or no-meaning we may attach to ' square of sense/ it 
seems clear to me that Regan refers to the joys which that 'square 9 'professes* to 
bestow ; I therefore follow the Ff. — Ed.] 

74. felicitate] Wright : That is, made happy. For instances of participles 
formed on the model of the Latin participles in -atus y compare ' consecrate 9 ( Tit, 
And, I, i, 14), 'articulate 9 (1 Hen, IV: V, i, 72), 'suffocate* (Tro, and Cres, I, iii, 
125), 'create 9 (Mid, N, D, V, i, 412). Abbott (§342) calls attention to the fact 
that this class of words, being derived directly from the Latin, stands on a different 
footing to those verbs ending in •/*, -/*, and -*/, which because of their already re- 
sembling participles in their terminations, do not add -ed in the participle. See 
Walker (Crit, ii, 324) ; Macb. IH, vi, 38; Ham, I, ii, 20. 

77. ponderous] White: ' More ponderous* of the Ff may possibly be a mis* 
print for ' more precious? Wright thinks it ' has the appearance of being a player's 
correction to avoid a piece of imaginary bad grammar ;' but I do not think we should 
desert a durior lectio but for a reason ' more ponderous 9 than this. Schmidt (ad 
loc.) says, with shrewdness, ' Light was the usual term applied to a wanton, friv. 
olous, and fickle love ; " light o' love " was a proverbial expression. But the oppo- 
site of this, heavy, could not be here employed, because that means uniformly, in a 
moral sense, melancholy, sad; nor is weighty any better; therefore Sh. chose "pon- 
derous." 9 


Lear. To thee and thine, hereditary ever, 
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom, 
No less in space, validity, and pleasure, 80 

Than that conferr'd on Goneril. — Now, our joy, 
Although our last and least, to whose young love 

8i. conferred] confirm* d Qq, Steer. Ktly, Hods. ColL iii. the loft, not Qq 

Var. et cet 

Now] but now Qq. 82. least t] leq/l ;,Ff. leaft 

82. our last and] Ff, Rowe, Knt, in our deere love, Qq, Cap. least; in 

Coll. i, Del. i, Sing. Wh. Sch. our last, whose young love Han. 
not Pope +, Jen. Dyce ii, Sta. Del. ii, to] in Quincy (MS.)* 

80. validity] For instances of 'validity/ meaning value, see Schmidt's Lex. 
t. v; see also Ham. Ill, ii. 179. 

82. last and least] In his Life of Shakespeare (Var. '2i 9 vol. ii, pp. 276-278), 
Malone gives many instances, to prove that last not least was a formula common in 
Shakespeare's time, and is always applied to a person highly valued by the speaker. 
Steevens refers to King Leir's reply to Mumford in the old ante-Shakespearian 
play. [See Appendix, p. 401.] Malone adds from The Spanish Tragedy, written 
before 1593 : ' The third and last, not least, in our account.' Dyce pronounces the 
reading of Ff, 'last and least/ a flagrant error; and Staunton says it can scarcely 
be doubted that it is a misprint, and to the examples already given and referred to, 
adds the following: <The last, not least, of these brave brethren* — Peele's Poly- 
hymnia, « Though I speak last, my lord, I am not least' — Middleton's Mayor of 
Queenborough I, iii. And 'my last is, and not least,' — Beau. & Fl., Monsieur 
Thomas III, I. White [see Text-notes] : Plainly this passage was rewritten before 
the Folio was printed. The last part of line 82, as it appears in the Qq, shows that 
the figurative allusion to the king of France and the duke of Burgundy could have 
formed no part of the passage when that text was printed. And in the rewriting 
there was a happy change made from the commonplace of ' last not least,' to an 
allusion to the personal traits and family position of Cordelia. The impression pro- 
duced by all the passages in which she appears or is referred to is, that she was her 
father's little pet, while her sisters were big, bold, brazen beauties. Afterwards, in 
this very scene, Lear says of her to Burgundy : « If augM within that little seeming 
substance, or all of it, with our displeasure pieced} &c. When she is dead, too, her 
father, although an infirm old man, * fourscore and upward,' carries her body in his 
arms. Cordelia was evidently the least, as well as the youngest and best beloved, 
of the old king's daughters; and therefore he says to her, ' Now our joy, what can 
you say to justify my intention of giving you the richest third of the kingdom, 
although you are the youngest born and the least royal in your presence ?' The 
poet's every touch upon the figure of Cordelia paints her as, with all her firmness of 
character, a creature to nestle in a man's bosom, — her father's or her husband's,— 
and to be cherished almost like a little child; and this happy afterthought brings the 
picture into perfect keeping, and at the very commencement of the drama impresses 
upon the mind a characteristic trait of a personage who plays an important part in 
it, although she is little seen. Hudson : I find it not easy to stand out against 
White's argument in favour of the Ff ; still, the phrase ' though last, not least,' ap- 
pears to have been so much a favorite with the poet, and withal so good in itself, 

act I, saL] KING LEAR 1 5 

The vines of France and milk of Burgundy 83 

Strive to be interess'd, what can you say to draw 

83,84. 7%e„...Jnteress y d] Om. Qq, 84,85. Wkat.„opulenf\ One line, Qq, 

Cap. Cap. 

84. interest d ] Jen. intereft Ff, Sen. 84. can you say] say youVopt+. 

infrest Pope, fnf rtss* a* Thcob.+. draw] win Qq, Cap. Jen. 

that I feel constrained to read with the majority of the editors. Schmidt (Zur 
Textkritik da King Lear, p. 13), in following out his theory that in the Qq we 
have merely a corrupt text taken down from the stage representation, repudiates the 

• last, not least,' here, and shrewdly suggests that since the same phrase occurs in Jul. 
Cms* Ill, t, 189, the actor who took the part of Antony in that play also acted Xear, 
and the phrase once learned by heart was repeated by him in Lear, where it does not 
belong. « But let one put himself in the place of Lear, and there will be felt in this 
" last and least " a tender touch of Nature. Our unser Letztes und Kleinstes gives the 
meaning certainly, but not quite wholly ; " least " means the youngest child, because 
there had been less of formal ado made over her, because in many a fftte and state 
occasion, in which the elder sisters took part, she had not had any share, and yet 
was the joy and " object." of her father, as the youngest child is always the favorite 
of the father, the eldest of the mother.' [If Hudson finds it not easy to stand out 
against White's argument, I find it impossible. White is at his happiest in detecting 
subtle, delicate touches, and when, as in this instance, he is in accord with the Folio, 
I yield at once, and will merely add that if Malone and Staunton can prove that 

* last, not least,' was a hackneyed phrase in Shakespeare's time, it is all the more 
reason why it should not be used here. Its very opposition to the common use 
and wont makes it emphatic. — Ed.] 

83. milk] Eccles : The pastures of Burgundy, the effect for the cause. Mober- 
LY: In ascribing vines to France, and not to Burgundy, Sh. may have thought of 
the pastoral countries of Southern Belgium as forming part of Burgundy (as they 
did till the death of Charles the Bold, 1477), otherwise we should not understand 
the distinction; as in the French Burgundy wine-growing was of very old standing; 
the arms of Dijon and Beaune have a vine upon them, and a great insurrection of 
vine-dressers took place there in 1630. — Michelet, Hist, de France, ii, 303. 

84. interess'd] Stekvens: So in the Preface of Drayton's Polyolbion: ' — there 
is scarce any of the nobilitie or gentry of this land, but he is in some way or other 
by his blood interessed therein.' Again in Jonson's Sefanus III, i : ' The dear re- 
public, our sacred laws, and just authority are interess'd therein.' Wright : For 
the form of the word, see Cotgrave (Fr. Diet.) : ' Interest . • • Interessed, or touched 
in ; dishonoured, hurt, or hindered by,' &c. See also Massinger, The Duke of Milan, 
I, i : * The wars so long continued between The emperor Charles, and Francis the 
French king, Have interess'd in cither's cause the most Of the Italian princes.' And 
Florio (Ital. Diet.) : ' Interessare, to interesse, to touch or concerne a mans maine 
state or jee-simple, to concerne a mans reputation ;' and * Interessato, interessed, 
touched in state, in honour or reputation.' Again in Minsheu (Span. Diet.) : * In- 
teressado, m. interessed, hauing right in.' For other instances of verbs of which 
the participial form has become a new verb, compare ' graff,' * hoise,' which appear 
in modern speech as ' graft,' ' hoist.' Schmidt maintains that ' interest ' of the Ff 
is the contracted past participle interested, formed on the analogy of ' felicitate,' line 
73> &c., and that there is no such verb as interesse or interest in Sh. 

16 KING LEAR [acti.scL 

A third more opulent than your sisters ? Speak. 85 

Cor. Nothing, my lord. 

Lear. Nothing ? 

Cor. Nothing. 

Lear. Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again. 

Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave go 

My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty 
According to my bond ; no more nor less. 

85. opulent] opileni F s . 89. Nothing wiS] How, nothing can 
your] your two Cap. Qq. Nothing can Cap. Jen. 

Speak] Om. Qq, Cap. 90-92. Unhappy. ..less.] Prose, Qq. 

87,88. Lear. Nothing f Cor. No- 90. heave] have Q,F S F 4 . 

thing.] Om. Qq. Lear. Howl Cor. 92. no more] Ff +, Knt, Sch. nor 

Nothing. Cap. more Qq et cet 

86. Nothing] Coleridge: There is something of disgust at the ruthless hypoc- 
risy of her sisters, and some little faulty admixture of pride and sullenness in Cor* 
delia's 'Nothing;' and her tone is well contrived, indeed, to lessen the glaring 
absurdity of Lear's conduct, but answers the yet more important purpose of forcing 
away the attention from the nursery-tale the moment it has served its end, that of 
supplying the canvas for the picture. This is also materially furthered by Kent's 
opposition, which displays Lear's moral incapability of resigning the sovereign power 
in the very act of disposing of it. Kent is, perhaps, the nearest to perfect goodness 
in all Shakespeare's characters, and yet the most individualized. There is an extra- 
ordinary charm in his bluntness, which is that only of a nobleman, arising from a 
contempt of overstrained courtesy, and combined with easy placability where good- 
ness of heart is apparent. His passionate affection for, and fidelity to, Lear act on 
our feelings in Lear's own favour; virtue seems to be in company with him. 

- 91. majesty] A dissyllable. See Macb. Ill, iv, 2; Walker, Vers. 174; Abbott, 


92. W. W. Lloyd: The crudity of manners expressed in Lear's solicitation of 
flattery has its natural counterpart in the almost sullen and repulsive tone of the 
virtue which preserves Cordelia from the degradation he would tempt her to. The 
progress of the story required a reply that should provoke the indignation of her 
father, and yet not cause her to forfeit our esteem. .... Moreover, Sh., it appears 
to me, designed to convey, by the very terms and rhythm of the speeches of Cor- 
delia, an impression that her speech was usually reserved and low and laconic, and 
thus that the very faculty was foreign to her that might have enabled her to effect 
the same result for her own dignity with milder method. Certain it is, and it is suf- 
ficiently declared in the sequel of the scene, that she took too little thought for the 
fact that her disinheriting was a greater misfortune to her father than to herself, and 
that to prevent it for his sake were worth incurring some misconstruction; this 
thought necessarily arises from the terms in which she commends her father, whose 
weakness she had not had the skill to humour honorably, to the sisters, whose natures 
she knows too well not to foresee their course, even without the irritation which 
the same weakness was sure to give occasion and welcome pretext for. This, then, 
is the incongruity of the social state on which the tragic action of the play depends; 


Lear. How, how, Cordelia ? mend your speech a little, 93 
Lest you may mar your fortunes. 

Cor. Good my lord, 

You have begot me, bred me, loved me ; I 9$ 

Return those duties back as are right fit, 

93. How t how, Cordelia f\ Goe to, got Ktly, Sch. ii Qq ct cct 

to, Q,, Cap. Go too, go too, Q,. 95, 96. /..;/&,] One line in QqFf. 

mend'] mend me Cap. Rowe. 

94. >**] Ff +, Knt, Coll. Del. Dyce i, 96. fit] fir Q r 


and when Lear enters mad in the last scene, with Cordelia dead in his arms, we have 
hot the fulfilment for either of the fate they equally provoked ; we behold the com- 
mon catastrophe of affection too much qualified by unreasonable anger on one side, 
and unaccommodating rigour on the other. Rafp {EinUitung tur Ueberseteung, 
Stuttgart, 1843) : The e ^ er sisters are vulgar, selfish natures ; Cordelia is not so 
vulgar, although possessed of a pride and obstinacy not unusual* When Diogenes 
marched up and down in the brilliant rooms of Plato, saying : « I tread upon the 
pride of Plato,' 'Yes,' replied Plato, 'with greater pride.' That is just the case 
with Cordelia. She is proud of being in the right, in contrast with her vulgar sis* 
ters, and this feeling she opposes to her sisters and to her old father. The weak 
old father has a right to a few flattering expressions from a loving child, because 
he needs thenv She offers him, on the contrary, what he cannot bear, the truth. A 
woman, whose nature is love, and who is straitlaced for truth, is a doubly perverted 
creature. Truth and Love are completely antipodal ; what else is love for an indi- 
vidual but the taking of a finite object for an infinite, and worshipping it as such ? 
Thus, love is essentially a lie, not a truth, and Cordelia misbehaves like her sisters, 
only in a different way, by egoism and lovelessness. One for whom she cannot tell 
a little lie, she does not love as she should. On this fine ground, which the poet has 
laid very close to us, now rests the whole piece. 
92. bond] Eocles : What I am bound to by duty. 

94. etseq, Moberly: Sh*, with wonderful naturalness, makes the shy and re* 
served Cordelia speak, when her false position is forced upon her, with a passion that 
will not stop .to choose conciliatory expressions, and which makes up by vehemence, 
and what sounds like petulance, for the weakness of the argument which she is 
driven to use, as she cannot reveal the truth which she knows. 

95. begot] Wright: Sh. (see Mer. of Ven. Ill, ii, 65; II, ii, 37) uses both 
forms of the participle ' begot ' and * begotten.' In the Authorized Version the lat- 
ter only occurs. 

96. those . • • as] Abbott, § 384, cites this line as containing an ellipsis, simi- 
lar to that in Macb. Ill, iv, 138: ' Returning were as tedious as (to) go o'er,' and 
gives it thus, in full : ' Return those duties back as (they) are right fit (to be returned),' 
adding, 'As can scarcely be [here] taken for which? It appears to me, neverthe- 
less, that it may be here readily taken for which, and so become an apposite instance 
tinder Abbott's 5 280, and parallel with Lear I, iv, 56 : ' with that ceremonious affec- 
tion as you were wont.' Thus: ' Return those duties back [which] are right fit— 
viz: Obey, 9 &c. Wright is also, apparently, of this opinion; but Moberly says 
that the plural « are' is used by attraction to the word ' duties,' as in Hen. V; V, ii, 

a* B 

18 KING LEAR [act I. sc. L 

Obey you, love you, and most honour you. 97 

Why have my sisters husbands, if they say 

They love you all ? Haply, when I shall wed, 

That lord whose band must take my plight shall cany 100 

Half my love with him, half my care and duty. 

Sure, I shall never many like my sisters, 

* To love my lather all. * 

Lear. But goes thy heart with this ? 

Car. Ay, my good lord 

Lear. So young, and so untender? 105 

Car. So young, my lord, arid true. 
. Lear. Let it be so ; thy truth then be thy dower; 
V I For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, 


93. 99* Why..*Uf] One line, Qq. Hereafter, lines thus Included between 

98-102. Why......uever\ Poor lines, asterisks are found only in the Qq. 

ending all t ..Mud..Mm % ...neuer Qq. 104. thy heart with this/} this 

99. Haply] HappelyQ,. Happily Yi. thy heart t Qq, MaL Steer. Bos. Coll. 

wed 9 ] wed. FJF r Ay % my good} I my good Ff +, 

103. marry] Mary Q,. Cap. Jen. Knt, Coll. DeL Wh. Ktly, Sch. 

10a, 103. marry... .^11,] Pope. One /good my Qq. Ay, good my Mil. etcet 

line, Qq. 107. Let] WeU let Qq. 

103. To...aH.] Om. FT, Rowe, Sch. thy truth"] the truth F JF 4 , Rowe. 

18; and that the phrase should be ' as is right fit,' as, indeed, Ksightlbt had already 
so printed it in his text 

104, et sea. Seymour here and in many other places amends the rhythm, which 
he finds harsh. I do not record his suggestions, which are pat forth with assurance, 
and consist mainly in a free excision of Shakespeare's words and in a free insertion 
of his own. Some commentators seem to think that Shakespeare could write neither 
poetry nor sense.— Ed. 

107. Bucknill (p. 176) : [This curse] b madness, or it is nothing. Not indeed 
raying, incoherent, formed mania, as it subsequently displays itself, but exaggerated 
passion, perrerted affection, enfeebled judgment, combining to form a state of men- 
tal disease— incipient, indeed, but stQl disease — in which man, though he may be 
paying for past errors, is during the present irresponsible. 

108. ton] Capell : The oaths given to Lear are admirable for their solemnity, 
and are taken from out the creed of his times as fables have given it; he is made 
the builder of Leicester (Leir Cestre, Saxonicf), and a temple of his erection is 
talk'd of to Janus Bifrous; so that as well his ' Hecate' here, as his Apollo and 
Jupiter afterwards, are consonant to his imputed religion, whatever comes of his 
true ; to which, in likelihood, his address before ' Hecate ' has a nearer affinity. Mo- 
BBRLY: The Druidical gods are, according to Caesar (Sell. Gall, vi, 17), Apollo, 
Mars, Jove, and Minerva. Lear's two oaths, by Apollo and Jupiter, are therefore 
historically accurate; so is his swearing by Night, as (c 18) 'Gall! se onmes ab 
Dite patre prognatos predicant,' and by Hecate, as a temple of Diana once occu- 
pied the place of the present St. Paul's in London. (Palgnrt's Amglo-Saxons, p. 51.) 


The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; 

By all the operation of the orbs ZIO 

From whom we do exist and cease to be; 

Here I disclaim all my paternal care, 

Propinquity, and property of blood, 

And as a stranger to my heart and me 

Hold thee from this for ever. The barbarous Scythian, 1 15 

Or he that makes his generation messes 

To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom 

Be as well neighboured, pitied, and relieved, 

As thou my sometime daughter. 

Kent. Good my liege,— 

Lear. Peace, Kent 1 120 

109. mysteries] mi/lreffeQq. miferies 116, 117. Or....Mppetite,] Two lines, 

F,. the first' ending generation, Qq. 

Hecate] HeccatQqF,. HecatFg. 117, 118. shall to my bosom Be] Shall 

night] might Qq. bee Qq. 

Iio. operation] operations F,F 3 F 4 +, 119. liege,—] liege— Rowe. Liege. 

Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Huds. QqFf. 

115. Hold] HoulJQi. 120, 121. Peoce...wroth.] One line, 

ever. The] ever, the Qq. Qq. 

r - ■ - 

109. Hecate] Wright : This word is a dissyllable in Mid. N. D. V, i, 391 ; 
Maeb. JI, i, 52 ; III, ii, 41 ; III, v, I ; and Ham. Ill, ii, 246. It is a trisyllable 
only in 1 Hen. VI: III, ii, 64, a significant fact as regards Shakespeare's share in 
that play. 

1 10. operation] Delius : The effect upon the life or death of mortals. WRIGHT : 
This> belief in planetary influence is in keeping with the speech of Edmund in the 
next scene. 

113. property] Delius: A stronger expression of the idea contained in 'propin- 
quity.' Wright : Rising, as it were, to identity of blood. Schmidt calls attention 
to this solitary instance in Sh. of this word in the sense of ownership and also of 
* propinquity.' 

115. from this] Steevens: That is, from this time. 

115. barbarous] See Abbott, §468, for the contraction of this and similar 
words in pronunciation; likewise 'nursery,' in line 122. 

115. Scythian] Wright: Purchas, in his Pilgrimage (ed. i6i4,p. 396), says, 
after describing the cruelties of the Scythians : * These customes were generall to the 
Scythians in Europe and Asia (for which cause Seytharum facinora patrare, grew 
into a prouerbe of immane crueltie, and their Land was iustly called Barbarous) ; 
others were more speciall and peculiar to particular Nations Scythian.' 

116. generation] Capell: His children, what he has generated. Wright: 
The word in this sense of offspring is familiar from Matthew, iii. 7 : * O generation 
of vipers.' 

119. sometime] For instances of the use of this in the sense of 'formerly,' see 
Schmidt, Lex. s. v 

20 KING LEAR [acti,sc.L 

Come not between the dragon and his wrath. i?I 

I loved her most, and thought to set my rest 

On her kind nursery. — Hence, and avoid my sight !— 

So be my grave my peace, as here I give 

123. and] Om. Pope +. 

[To Cor. Rowe +, Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Wh. Hal. 

121. dragon] Moberly: A natural trope for Lear to use, as, like Arthur, he 
would wear a helmet (Idylls of the King, p. 256) : ' On which for crest the golden 
dragon clung For Britain.' [See Godwin on helmets, Appendix, p. 449.] 

121. wrath] Capell: His wrath's object 

122. set my rest] Wright : A phrase from the game of cards called primero, 
used in a double sense. Metaphorically, Ho set one's rest' is to stake one's all. 
Literally in the game of primero it signifies ' to stand upon the cards in one's hand.' 
For an example of the metaphorical sense, see Bacon's Essay xxix, p. 128 (ed. 
Wright) : * There be many Examples, where Sea-Fights have beene Finall to the 
wane; But this is, when Princes or States, have set up their Rest, vpon Battailes.' 
[See the notes, in this edition, on Rom. 6* Jul. IV, v, 6. Elsewhere in Sh. the 
phrase is uniformly, I think, ' to set up.' — Ed.] 

123. Hence, etc.] Heath: These words are undoubtedly addressed to Kent; 
for in the next words Lear sends for France and Burgundy, in order to tender to 
them his youngest daughter. At such a time, therefore, to drive her out of his pres- 
ence would be a contradiction to his declared intention. Jennens ably maintains 
jthat this is addressed to Cordelia, in so far as she had just raised her father's anger 
£0 the highest pitch, while Kent, the extent of whose opposition was thus far quite 
unknown, had been simply warned not to come between the dragon and his wrath. 
When Kent interposed a second time, Lear warned him a second time to make from 
the shaft. Kent emboldened, then uses rougher language; Lear passionately ad- 
jures him, ' on thy life, no more ;' Kent persists, and Lear bids him for the first time 
4 out of my sight.' Kent further entreats, Lear swears ; Kent returns the oath, and 
then Lear banishes him. This, natural gradation in Lear's anger towards Kent, thus 
contrasted with his instant rage against Cordelia, whom he loved so deeply and who 
had wounded him so bitterly, Jennens thinks is one of the most beautiful in all 
Shakespeare. Malone thinks that the inconsistency noted by Heath is perfectly 
suited to Lear's character, and therefore that this sentence is addressed to Cordelia* 
Delius adopts Heath's reasons for believing these words were addressed to Kent, 
and adds that Cordelia, both before and after them, is spoken of in the third person. 
White : These words most probably are addressed to Cordelia; yet it may be rea- 
sonably urged that Cordelia does not go out, as she would be likely to do upon such 
a command ; and that although Kent has merely broken in with ' Good, my liege,— 9 
Lear is choleric and unreasonable enough to hound him from his presence upon 
such slight provocation. Hudson : Perhaps the true explanation is, that Lear an- 
ticipates remonstrance from Kent, and, in his excited mood, flares up at any offer of 
that kind. Wright : After the king, in reply to Kent's interruption, had justified his 
conduct, he could scarcely order him from his sight. [If any critic of less weight 
than Heath had started this question, I doubt if it would have been ever discussed.-* 

ACT I, SC. L] 



Her father's heart from her 1— Call France. Who stirs ? 

Call Burgundy. — Cornwall and Albany, 

With my two daughters' dowers digest the third. 

Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. 

I do invest you jointly with my power, 

Pre-eminence and all the large effects 

That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course, 

With reservation of an hundred knights 

By you to be sustained, shall our abode 

Make with you by due turn. Only we shall retain 

The name and all th' addition to a king ; 




125. hit l— Call France.'] ColL her; 
call France, Q,Ff +• her f call France 
Qg. her. Call France; Cap. 

126. Burgundy.-^Thtob. Burgun- 
dy— Rowe, Pope. Burgundy, QqFf. 

[Exit an Att Cap. Exit Edmund. 
Cap. conj. (MS.).* 

127. daughter* dowers] Warb. 
Daughters Dowres F I F 3 F | . daughters 
4ower Qq. Daughters, Dowres Y^ 
daughters dowers Rowe, Pope, Theob. 

the] Ff +,Bos. Knt,ColL DeL 
Dycei,Whl,Sch. M6Qqetcet 
129. with] in Qq. 
13a Pre-eminence] Jen. PrehetnU 

nence QqFf +, Cap. Steer. Ec. 

134. /ttr»]F 3 F 4 ,Rowe,Knt,DeLSch. 
turne¥^F 9 . turnesQqetcdL. 

we shall] Ff, Rowe, Steer. Ec 
Knt, DeL Sch. Om. Pope+. we Cap. 

135, 136. The 9 ] The first 
line ends/way, Ff, Rowe, Cap. 

135. name and..Mng;...of the res/] 
name; but.., king, office, Theob. (Nich- 
ols's Lit. Hist, ii, 369) conj. (with- 

and all] Om. Cap. 
addition] Ff + , Cap. Steer. Sing* 
Ktly, Sch. additions Qq et cet 

125. Who stirs ?] Delius interprets this as a threat, to terrify into silence any 
chance opposition on the part of the bystanders. Moberly : The courtiers seem 
unwilling to obey a command so reckless, [May it not be that the circle of cour- 
tiers are so horror-struck at Lear's outburst of fury, and at Cordelia's sudden and 
impending doom, that they stand motionless and forget to move? This is one of 
Shakespeare's touches, like old Capulefs calling Juliet 'you tallow-face/ to be in* 
terpreted by reading between the lines. — Ed.] 

128. marry] Delius : That is, provide a husband for her. 

129, 138. W. W. Lloyd: It is apparent that Lear must long have put the sin- 
cerest affection to the sorest trials, and tasked the endurance even of sordid self- 
interest, and now he manifests undiminished appetite for the coarser luxury of sway 
at the very moment he releases unwilling purveyors from their bondage. The re- 
served train of one hundred knights, and the alternate visits he proposes, prove that 
in a most important respect he contemplates no abdication at all, but expects to ob- 
tain still, on the strength of obligation, more than all he had exacted so gallingly by 
the force of his regal power and dignity. 

130. effects] Wright: Used, apparently, of the outward attributes of royalty, 
everything that follows in its train. See II, iv, 176. 



[act i, sc. L 

The sway, revenue, execution of the rest, 136 

Beloved sons, be yours ; which to confirm, 
This coronet part between you. 

Kent. Royal Lear, 

Whom I have ever honoured as my king, 
Loved as my father, as my master follow'd, 140 

As my great patron thoug ht on inmy prayers,— 

Lear. The bow is bentfand drawn ; make from the shaft. 

Kent Let it fall rather, though the fork invade 
The region of my heart ! Be Kent unmannerly, 
When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man? 145 

136. The sway] Separate line, Steev. 
Bos. Knt, Dyce. 

of the rest] Om. Pope, Theob. 
Han. and the rest Cap. [offers it. (a 
stage direction) Anon.* 

138. between] betwixt Qq, Glo.+, 

[Giving the crown. Pope +. 
[in Action of preventing him* 
Cap. Ec. 

139. my king] akingF 4t Kowt, Pope. 

140. master] maifter Q f . 
followed] followed Qq. 

141. As my great] As my F t F 1« 4 . 
And as my Rowe, Pope, Theob. Han. 
Warb. Coil. (MS.). 

prayers, — ] prayers — Rowe +. 
prayers. Q,F S F 4 . praiers. Q,F,F t . 

142. drawn] drawen Q f . 
143-153. Let it..„,hollowness] Lines 

Gtidrather,„,heart,...mad,...duly...b'owes 9 

fottyj~. k .conftderation life, leafl,,„. 

found... hoJloWner^<{. 
145. mad] man Q,. 

wouldst] wouldeft F,F t F . wilt 

133. shall] Wright : Here used in the ordinary future sense) as if it had been 
preceded by ' we/ with perhaps something of the idea of fixed intention. 

135. addition] External observance. See II, ii, 22; Macb. I, iii, 106 ; III, i, 99; 
Ham. I, iv, 20. 

136. of the rest] Warburton reads < of th' Hest,' because Hest is an old word 
for regal command. Heath proposed to substitute interest, which will signify the 
legal right and property. Jennens : It is most likely Sh. wrote all the rest. John* 
son : The phrase means, I suppose, the execution of all the other business. 

138. coronet] Delius thinks that this does not refer to Lear's own crown, that 
is among the things which he retains, but he delivers to his sons-in-law, who remain 
dukes after as well as before this transaction, a smaller ducal crown. Elsewhere 
Sh. accurately distinguishes between a crown and a coronet, see Temp. I, ii, 1 14 ; 
Hen. V: II, Chor. 10. Wright thinks that there can be no such distinction here; 
while Schmidt agrees with Delius. 

143. fork] Wright: Ascham says, in his Toxophilus (p. 135, ed. Arber), that 
Pollux describes two kinds of arrow-heads: ' The one he calleth byiuvoc, descry by nge 
it thus, hauyng two poyntes or barbes, lookyng backewarde to the stele and the 
fethers, which surely we call in Englishe a brode arrowe head or a swalowe tayle. 
The other he calleth yh^xk* hauyng .ii. poyntes stretchyng forwarde, and this Eng- 
lysh men do call a forkehead.' 

145. What] Capell: This is spoke on seeing his master put his hand to hii 

icr I, sc. L] KING LEAR 23 

Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak, 146 

When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's 

When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state, 

147. Whm..~.Aound,] Johns. Two Johns. Jen. Knt, Del. Dyce, Sch. to 
lines, Ff, Rowe. When..Mnour 9 one folly falls Pope, Theob. Han. Warb 
line, Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. floops to folly Qq et cet. 

honour's] honours Qq. honour 148. folly.] Johns, folly; Rowe. 

Is Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. folly, QqFf. 

147-149. Lines end honour.. falls~* Reserve thy state] Ff +, Knt, 

chech Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Del. Sing. Dyce i, Sch. Reuerfe thy 

148. falls to folly] Ff. (fall FJ Rowe, doome Qq et cet. 

147. A trimeter couplet, see Abbott, 5 501. 

148. majesty] A dissyllable. See I, i, 90. 

148. Reserve thy state] Johnson : I am inclined to think that Reverse thy doom 
was Shakespeare's first reading, as more apposite to the present occasion, and that he 
changed it afterwards to ' Reserve thy state,' which conduces more to the progress of 
the action. Delius defends the Ff, because Lear's surrender of his royalty proved 
subsequently more fatal to him than the unjust doom pronounced on Cordelia. 
White cannot regard the text of the Ff as other than ' an accidental variation, be- 
cause Kent makes no attempt to induce Lear to abandon his design of dividing his 
kingdom and abdicating his throne; he simply pleads for Cordelia. Between re* 
verse and " reserve," the difference is only the transposition of two letters; and that 
change once made by accident, the other would naturally follow by design. 9 In N. 
6* Qu. 5th Ser. v, 444, W. A. B. Cooudgb argues against interpreting ' doom' by 
destiny [which I think no one but the critic himself ever did so interpret. Kent is 
such a noble fellow, that we who know Cordelia's truthfulness and honesty, and 
have heard her words spoken aside, cannot but think that, he is here pleading hei 
cause. But I am afraid we are too hasty. Kent is pleading not for Cordelia, but 
for Lear himself; he has not as yet made the slightest allusion to Cordelia. When 
Lear denounces her, Kent, who sees that Lear is crushing- the only chance of future 
happiness, starts forward with ' Good my liege ;' but before he can utter another word 
Lear interrupts him, and interprets his exclamation as an intercession for Cordelia; 
and we fall into the same error, so that when Kent speaks again we keep up the 
same illusion, whereas all that he now says breathes devotion to the king, and to no 
one else. The folly to which majesty falls is not the casting off of a daughter, — that 
is no more foolish in a king than in a subject,— but it is the surrendering of revenue, 
of sway, and of the crown itself, — this is hideous rashness, this is power bowing to 
flattery. Hence, Kent entreats Lear ' to reserve his state.' And to show still more 
conclusively that Lear, and not Cordelia, is chiefly in his thoughts, in his very next 
speech he says that the motive for which he now risks his life is the safety of the 
king. Furthermore, when Lear has been turned out of doors and his daughters 
have usurped all his powers, Gloucester (III, iv, 156) says, * Ah that good Kent ! He 
said it would be thus,' which cannot well refer to any other passage than the present. 
" Moreover, had Kent been so devoted to Cordelia as to suffer banishment for her 
sake, would he not have followed her to France rather than followed as a servant 



[ACT I, SC. 1. 



And in thy best consideration check 
This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgement, 
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least ; 
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound 
Reverbs no hollowness. 

Lear. Kent, on thy life, no more ! 

Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn 
To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it, 
Thy safety being the motive. 

Lear. Out of my sight ! 

Kent. See better, Lear, and let me still remain 
The true blank of thine eye. 

Lear. Now, by Apollo, — 

Kent. Now, by Apollo, king, 



149. And. ..consideration] with better 
judgment Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

150. answer„..judgement] with my life 
I answer Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

152, 153. sound Reverbs] founds Re* 
uerbe Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sing. Ktly, Sch. 

153- fy Kfi\ **y life W 

154. as a] asF t . 

15$. MiW] My Qq, Pope, Theob. Han. 
Warb. Cap. Cam. Wr. 

enemies'] foes Pope, Theob. Han. 


155. nor] nere F t F t . ne*reF s . ne*et 

F 4 , Rowe, Knt, Del. Sta. Sch. 

fear to] fear* d to EcL conj. 

1 56. the motive] motive Ff, Rowe, Knt, 

>59t 160. Kent Now....vain.] One 
line, Qq. 

159. ApoUof-]Appotto t Q x . Apollo— 
Q,. Apollo, F t . Apollo. F.FjF^ 

his great patron whom he had thought on in his prayers ? It need scarcely be added 
that ' reserve thy state ' means ' retain thy royal dignity and power.' — Ed.] 

150. Answer] Johnson : That is, Let my life be answerable for my judgement, 
or I will stake my life on my opinion. [For other instances of the subjunctive used 
optatively or imperatively, see Abbott, § 364 ; also see Macb. V, vi, 7.] 

153. Reverbs] Steevens : Perhaps a word of Shakespeare's own making, mean* 
ing the same as reverberates, 

154. pawn] Steevens j That is, a pledge, Capell, followed by Henley, 
strangely thinks that this refers to the pawn in a game of chess. 

155. wage] Dyce (Gloss.) : That is, to stake in wager. 

158. blank] Johnson: The 'blank' is the white or exact mark at which tne 
arrow is shot. ' See better/ says Kent, * and keep me always in your view.' 

159. Apollo] M alone: Bladud, Lear's father, according to Geoffrey of Mon. 
mouth, attempting to fly, fell on the temple of Apollo, and was killed. This cir- 
cumstance our author must have noticed, both in Holinshed's Chronicle and The 
Mirrour for Magistrates. Steevens: Are we to understand, from this circum- 
stance, that the son swears by Apollo, because the father broke his neck on the 
temple of that deity? M alone: We are to understand that Sh. learned from hence 
that Apollo was worshipped by our British ancestors, which will obviate Dr. John* 

ACT I, SC. i.] 


Thou swear'st thy gods in vain. 




> Dear sir, forbear. 

O vassal ! miscreant 1 




Kent. Kill thy physician, and thy fee bestow 
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift ; 
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat, 
I'll tell thee thou dost eviL 

Lear. Hear me, recreant 1 

On thine allegiance, hear me t 
That thou hast sought to make us break our vow, 


160. swear* sf] sweareft Q,. 

O vassal! miscreant/] Vajfall, 
recreant. Qq. O, vassal! recreant! C6W. 

{Laying his hand on his sword* 
Rowe. In Action of drawing his Sword. 

161. Alb. Corn* Dear sir^foroearJ] 

[interposing, Cap. 

162. Kill] Ff+,Knt,Sta.Sch. Doe, 
kill Qq et cet Reading Do as a sepa- 
rate line, Steev. '93. Bos. ColL Del* 
Sing. Dyce, Wh. Ktly, Glo.+. 

162-165. KiU.....Mril.] lines end, 

162. />^/<*]Ff+,Jen.Ec.Knt,Sch. 
**//** Qqetcet 

163. Upon the] Upon t Ay Cap. 

gift FgFj, Rowe. thy doonu Qq, Pope 

165, 166. Hear.„.mef\ As in Cap* 
One line, QqFf, Rowe, Jen. Del. Sing* 

165. recreant] Om. Qq. 

166. On thy. ..met] Om. Pope+. 
thine] thy Qq, Cam. 

167. Tkat]Ff, Rowe, Knt,Wh. Sen. 
Since Qq et cet 

vow] vowes Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sch* 

son's objection, in a subsequent note, to Shakespeare's making Lear too much a 

160. swear'st] Abbott ($ 200) : The preposition is omitted after some verbs 
which can easily be regarded as transitive. See also 'smile you my speeches/ II, 
ii, 77. Wright: Sh. frequently uses the verb in a transitive sense when it has a 
person for its object, as in Jul. Cos. II, i, 129; but in the sense of appealing to a 
deity by an oath, it is not common. 

160. miscreant] Dkuus says that Kent is a ' miscreant' in regard to Apollo and 
the gods, whom he has contemptuously termed ' thy gods ;' and that recreant, of the 
Qq, he is in regard to Lear. But, as Schmidt says, Sh. uses 'miscreant' very fre- 
quently in the sense of moral worthlessness. 

164. clamour] Walker has a section (Crit. i, 156) devoted to the meaning o! 
this word, which he seems to think expresses an idea of wailing or lamentation* 
The present passage can with difficulty be said to support this theory. 

167. That] To White, ' That ' of the Ff seems more in keeping with the style 
of this play. ' Of old that had, as it still has among our best writers, the sense of 
for that, seeing that, assuming! So, Schmidt also says, that the causative since of 
the Qq is less in the tone of suppressed passion which characterizes the speech, and 
leads, grammatically, less directly than ' that ' to the main point : ' take thy reward/ 
See I, i, 70* 




[act i, sc. i. 

Which we durst never yet, and with strain'd pride 
To come betwixt our sentence and our power, 
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear, 
Our potency made good, take thy reward. 
Five days we do allot thee, for provision 
To shield thee from diseases of the world, 
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back 


168. strain' d]ftraiedQq. 

169. betwixt] between* Qq, Cap. Jen. 
Ec. Glo.+, Mob. 

sentence"} fentences F t , Knt i, 
Del. i. 

171. Our...tnade] Nor., .make Heath. 

Or, ..make Johns, conj. 

171. made] make Q,, Pope, Warb. Bos. 

172. Five] Foure Qq, Jen. 

173. diseases] dif afters Ff + ,Cap. Ec 
Knt, Del. Dyce i, Wh. 

174. sixtA]ftxtF t F 9 T r ftfiQ({. 

169. power] Edwards : That is, our power to execute it. 

170. Wright: This line gives the key to Lear's hasty and impetuous character. 

170. nor . . . nor] Wright : For neither . . . « nor,' compare Oth. Ill, iv, 116, 1 17. 

171. made good,] Johnson: 'As thou hast come with unreasonable pride be- 
tween the sentence which I had passed, and the power by which I shall execute it, 
take thy reward in another sentence which shall make good, shall establish, shall 
maintain, that power? Mr. Davies thinks, that ' our potency made good, 1 relates only 
to our place. Which our nature cannot bear, nor outplace, without departure from 
the potency of that place. This is easy and clear. Lear, who is characterized 
as hot, heady, and violent, is, with very just observation of life, made to entangle 
himself with vows, upon any sudden provocation to vow revenge, and then to plead 
the obligation of a vow in defence of implacability. Stbevens : In my opinion, 
* made ' is right. Lear had just delegated his power to Albany and Cornwall, con- 
tenting himself with only the name and all the additions of a king. He could, there- 
fore, have no power to inflict on Rent the punishment which he thought he deserved. 
'Our potency made good' seems to me only this: They to whom I have yielded my 
power and authority, yielding me the ability to dispense it in this instance, take thy 
reward. Malone : The meaning, I think is : As a proof that I am not a mere 
threatener, that I have power as well as will to punish, take the due reward of thy 
demerits ; hear thy sentence. The words ' our potency made good ' are in the ab- 
solute case. Wright : Lear still speaks as king, although he had announced his 
intention of abdicating. It is difficult, therefore, to understand why Steevens should 
have stumbled at this passage. The reading of Q, can only mean ' make good or 
establish our power by taking thy punishment as an acknowledgement of it.' Mo- 
Berly: Sh. ingeniously makes Lear forget that he is giving up his power on that 
very day, and pronounce a sentence on Kent to take effect in ten days. 

173. diseases] Malone: The alteration of the Ff was made by the printer in 
consequence of his not knowing the meaning of the original word. « Diseases/ in 
old language, meant the slighter inconveniences, troubles, or distresses of the world. 
The provision that Kent could make in five days might, in some measure, guard him 
against the « diseases ' of the world, but could not shield him from its disasters. [See 
note in Macb. V, iii, 21.— Ed.] 

ACT z 9 sc. L] 



Upon our kingdom. If on the tenth day following 175 

Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions, 
The moment is thy death. Away ! By Jupiter, 
This shall not be revoked 

Kent Fare thee well, king ; sith thus thou wilt appear, 
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.—* 180 

\ .» /»-— \ The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, 

That justly think'st and hast most rightly said ! — 
And your large speeches may your deeds approve, 
That good effe&s may spring from words of love- 
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu ; 185 
He'll shape his old course in a country new. [Exit. 

175. on] Om. F,F S F 4 +. 

177. death. Away I By] Johns. 
death : away. By Pope, death, away, 
by Qq. death, away. By Ff. 

177, 178. By....rewhed] One line,Q,. 

179. Fare] Why fare Qq, Jen. £c 

tith tkus]Jince thus Q,, Jen. Ec 
Steev. Var. Coll. i, Del. Sing. Wh, Ktly. 


180. Freedom] Friendship Qq, Jen. 

181. [To Cordelia, Han. 

dear shelter] protection Qq. 
thee, maid] thee maid F 1 F t F J . 
the maide Q v . the maid Q^ 

182. justly....righily] rightly. ...jujtty 
Qqt Jen. 

thin#sf\thi*hsQ?f thinhesQ^ 
hast] hath Q4. 

183. [To Gon. and Regan. Han. 
your large speeches] you, large 

speechers, Cap. 

175. tenth] Collier (ed. 2) adopts the (MS.) emendation of seventh, bat returns 
to the old text in his ed. 3, presumably for metrical reasons. Daniel (Notes, &c, 
p. 76): Read stnth; the sense of the passage requires this alteration. If we may 
contract ' sevennights ' to sennights, why not ' seventh ' to se*nth t 

177. Jupiter] Johnson: Sh. makes his Lear too much a mythologist; he had 
* Hecate ' and ' Apollo ' before. 

Buoenill (p. 176) : Lear's treatment of Kent; his ready threat in reply to Kent's 
deferential address; his passionate interruptions and reproaches; his attempted vio- 
lence, checked by Albany and Cornwall; and, finally, the cruel sentence of banish* 
ment, cruelly expressed, — all these are the acts of a man in whom passion has be- 
come disease. 

179. Fare thee] For instances of the use, for euphonic reasons, probably ot 
« thee ' for thou, see Abbott, § 212. 

179. sith] Here, as in Ham. II, ii, 6, the Ff and Qq differ in the use of 4 sith • and 
« since/ showing, as Clarendon points out, that Sh. did not uniformly observe the 
distinction laid down by Marsh. See notes on the passage in Ham. 

180. Freedom] Jennens : ' Friendship,' of the Qq, seems more properly opposed 
to 'banishment; 9 for what is 'banishment' but the being driven away from our 
friends and countrymen? 

183. Capell affirms that his ' emendation will not appear an unfit one to such as 
mark the ill-construction of the line, and it's ill connection with the line that comes 
after, in their old reading. 9 



[ACT I, SC. i. 

Flourish. Re-enter GLOUCESTER, with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants. 

Glou. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord. 

Lear. My lord of Burgundy, 
We first address toward you, who with this king 
Hath rivalled for our daughter; what, in the least, 
Will you require in present dower with her, 
Or cease your quest of love ? 

Bur. Most royal majesty, 

I crave no more than hath your highness offered, 
Nor will you tender less. 

Lear. Right noble Burgundy, 



Flourish.] Om. QqF a F s F 4 . 

Re-enter...] Cap. Enter France and 
Burgundie with Glofter. Qq (Burgundy 
Q,. Glocester Q a ). Enter Glofler with 
France, and Burgundy Attendants. Ff -f . 

187. Scene 111. Pope, Han. Johns. Jen, 
Glou.] Glo. or Gloft. Qq. Cor. 

Ff, Rowe, Pope. 

1 88-1 92. My. f] Four lines, end- 
'jigyou t ...daughter^..pre/ent..Joue t Qq. 

188. lord] L. Q,. 
of] or Q 9 . 

189. toward] Ff+, Jen. Knt, Coll. 
Del. Dyce i, Sta. Wh. Ktly f Sch. 

towards Qq et cet. 

189. this] a Qq. 

190. Hath'] Have Pope +, Jen. Ec 
in the leas/] at least Pope, 

Theob. Han. Warb. 

192. Most] Om. Qq. 

192-194. royal...less.] Two lines, the 
first ending what, Qq. 

193. £aM]w>**/QqF 3 F 4 +Jen.Ktly f 

offered] offered Q<\. 

194. less.] UJfet QqF t F^ lefsf F,. 
194-198. Kight...pieeed,] Four lines, 

ending vs t ...f alien ;...little...peee y fl 9 Qq. 

186. Johnson: He will follow his old maxims; he will continue to act upon the 
tame principles. Steevens quotes: 'St. George for England! and Ireland now 
adieu, For here Tom Stukely shapes his course anew.' — Peele's Battle of Alcatar, 
1594, p. 117; ed. Dyce. As You Like It (Gent. Maga. t lx, p. 402) conjectures 
corse for ' course,' and explains that Kent means that * he'll conform his old body, 
approaching towards a corse, to the customs of a new country.' Wright so far 
agrees with this anonymous critic as to think that there is ' evidently a play intended 
upon the words " course " and " corse." * [The antithesis is so marked between ' old' 
and ' new ' that, to me, the simpler the interpretation the better : Kent's old age must 
be finished in a new country. The jingle between « course* and « corse ' is certainly 
Shakespearian, but I cannot see that it is called for here ; the situation is not so 
tragic that it needs the relief of a smile, and, moreover, « to shape a corse' is well- 
nigh unintelligible. — Ed.] 

187. Here's] See III, iii, 17; Ham. Ill, iv, 202; IV, v, 5; Macb. II, iii, 137; 
and Abbott, § 335. 

190. Hath] For instances of the relative followed by a singular verb, though tne 
antecedent be plural, see Abbott, § 247. 

190. rivall'd] Schmidt: The only instance in Sh. of its use as a verb. 

190. in the least] Wright : At least. So * in the best ' for * at best ' in Ham. I, 
v, 27. Schmidt : Here alone in Sh. thus used. 

ACT X, SC. 1.] 


When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; 
But now her price is fall'n. Sir, there she stands. 
If aught within that little-seeming substance, 
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced, 
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace, 
She's there, and she is yours. 

Bur. I know no answer. 

Lear. Will you, with those infirmities she owes, 
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, 
DowerM with our curse and stranger'd with our oath, 
Take her, or leave her? 

Bur. Pardon me, royal sir; 



195. did hold] /WtfF,FjF 4 +, Jen. 

196. price] pri/eQ t . 
falPn] fallen QqF,F, 

197. little-seeming] Coll. iii, Walker. 
little, seeming, Cap. little, seeming Steev. 
'78, Ec. Var. Knt, Sing, little feeming 
QqFf et cet. 

198. pieced] piedd Ff. peedft Qq. 
pierced Pope. 

199. more] elfe Qq. 

200. she is] Om. Voss. 

201. Wilt] Sir will Q,. Sir, wUl Q+ 
Cap. Steev. Mai. Ec. Var. Sing. (Sir, 
in a separate line, Steev. Bos. Sing.) 

202. new-adopted] Hyphen by Pope. 

203. Dower'd] Doutrd F t . Dowt>d 
F^,F 4 . CoueredQ t Q m . 

204. Take her,] Take leave, F F 4 . 
her?] Rowe. her. QqFf. 

204,205. Pardon. ..conditions,] The 
first line ends at vp, Qq. 
204. me] Om. Pope-K 

195. so] Capell: Speaking indefinitely, as one unwilling to say how much she 
was dear to him ; and giving « so ' the force of — so and so, or at such and such price, 
as men sometimes express themselves. Eocles, Malone, and Moberly think that 
it means ' worthy of that high dowry,' in which opinion the present Editor agrees, 
but Wright thinks that it means simply dear. 

197. seeming] Johnson: Beautiful. Steevens: Specious. Wright: That 
substance which is but little in appearance. Moberly : Her nature that seems so 
slight and shallow. Lear speaks in the next line of her < infirmities/ her want of 
established principle as compared with her decided and outspoken sisters. Schmidt 
thinks that all these definitions fail to take into account Shakespeare's use of the word 
4 substance,' whereby he commonly expresses reality in opposition to shadow; ' seem- 
ing substance ' means, therefore, something which pretends to be that which it is not 
Perhaps, he adds, 'seeming' is to be taken as a gerund, and 'seeming substance 9 
may then mean a creature whose reality is mere show or seeming. 

198. pieced] Wright : See III, vi, 2. 

199. like] See Ham. II, ii, 80. 
201. owes] Owns. 

203. stranger'd] See Abbott, §294, for a list of over thirty passive verbs, 
formed from adjectives and nouns, found mostly in the participle ; in Lear are the 
following: 'faithM,' II, i, 70; 'window'd,' III, iv, 31 ; «H- childed as I fatherM/ 
III, vi, 108; « nighted,' IV, v, 13; 'the death-practised duke,' IV, vi, 275. 



30 KING LEAR [act I, sc. L 

Election makes not up in such conditions. 205 

Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the pow er that made? 

I tell you all her wealth. — [To France] For you, great king, 
I would not from your love make such a stray, 
To match you where I hate ; therefore beseech you 
T' avert your liking a more worthier way 210 

Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed 
Almost t' acknowledge hers. 
France. This is most strange, 

205. up in] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sch. up 212-218. This.....ubgree] Six lines, 

0* Qq et cet. tn6ingnow.. t .prat/e 9 ,. t .deere/t^.Jhin^^.. 

207. [To France] Pope. Om. QqFf. favour 9, Qq. 
210. worthier] worthy Pope +. 

205. makes not up] Johnson : To make up, in familiar language, is neutrally, 
to come forward, to make advances, which I think is meant here. Malonb? Elec- 
tion comes not to a decision. Knight; The choice of Burgundy refuses to come to 
a decision, in such circumstances, or on such terms. Mason thinks that ' up ' and 
' on ' should be read as one word, in order to make the sense evident But Wright's 
note is conclusive : ' Election makes not its choice, comes to no decision, resolves 
not We still say " to make up one's mind," and the phrase is here used elliptically 
in the same sense.' 

205. in such conditions] Schmidt (Zur Textkritik, &c, p. 14) : If ' condi- 
tions ' be here taken in its ordinary sense, it requires, even according to Shake- 
speare's own mode of speaking, on before it, instead of ' in ;' but it is not ' condi- 
tions ' that are spoken of in what precedes : ' Will you, with those infirmities she 
owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, Dower* d with our curse, and stranger' d 
with our oath,' &c. It is qualities that are here enumerated, and it is in just this 
sense of qualify that Shakespeare very often uses ' condition.' Meas.for Afeas. I, i, 
54 : ' our haste from hence is of so quick condition that it prefers itself,' &c. Afer. 
of Ven, V, i, 74 : ' unhandled colts, fetching mad bounds • • . which is the hot con- 
dition of their blood.' Hen, V: IV, i, 1084 'all his senses have but human condi- 
tions.' Much Ado, III, ii, 68: 'one that knows him, and his ill conditions,' &c. 
That the word in this sense may also have the preposition in before it can be shown 
by abundant examples. As You Like it, I, i, 47 : « I know you are my eldest brother, 
and in the pentle condition of blood you should soWow me.' Rich, II: II, iii, 1 07 : 
• in conditions of the worst degree, in gross rebellion,' &c. 

208. 209. such . . • To] For instances of the omission of as after such, so, see 
Abbott, § 281, and line 216. 

209. beseech] For instances of the omission of the nominative, see Abbott, 

210. avert] Schmidt: Not elsewhere in Sh. as a verb. 

210, 215. more worthier . ... Most best] For instances of double comparatives 
and superlatives, see Abbott, §11. 

ACT I, SC. 1.] 



That she, who even but now was your best objeft, 
The argument of your praise, balm of your age, 
The best, the dearest, should in this trice of time 
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle 
So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence 
Must be of such unnatural degree 
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd afleflion 


-1 1 3. she, who] Jke whom F,, Sing. 
fhe, that Q t , Mai. Steev. Var. CoU. Glo. 
+,Mob. JhetkatQj. 

best]Om.Y t . blest Coll. (MS.). 

214. The,..praise] Your praises ar- 
gument Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

215. The best, the] Ff, Rowe, Johns. 
Cap. Steev. Ec. Knt, Sing. Wh. Sch. 
Moft beft, moft Qq et cet. 

Most., .dearest] Dearest and best 
Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. And dearest t 

best Quincy (MS.). 
217. folds] fouls Q 3 . 

her offence] th* offence Pope, Han. 
219. That monsters it] As monstrous 
is Rowe, Pope. As monsters it Han. 

or] ere Theob. conj. (with* 

your fore-vouch' d] your fore* 
voucht Ff. you for voucht Qq, Jen. 

affeclion] affeclions Qq, Jen. 

213. best] Collier (ed. 3); The compositor [instead of blest] caught 'best' 
from the next line but one. 

213. object] Schmidt (Zur Textkritit, &c, p. 14) : Sh. uses this word, without 
an adjective, in an expanded sense, equivalent to that which one has always in his 
eye, or seeks out with his eye, the delight of his eye. Thus, V. and A. $ 255 : 
' The time is spent, her object will away,' &c. ; Ib. 9 822 : ' So did the merciless and 
pitchy night Fold in the object that did feed her sight;' Mid. N. D. IV, i, 174: 
' the object and the pleasure of mine eye is only Helena ;' Cymb, V, iv, 55 : ' fruit- 
ful object be In eye of Imogen.' Where Timon, IV, iii, 122, tells Alcibiades to 

* swear against objects,' he means 'pour out curses, when whatever touches the heart 
of man presents itself to the eye.' The interpolated * best,' in the present passage, 
while it makes the phrase more generally understood, weakens insteads of strengthens 
the passage. [The omission of the adjective throws the accent on the last syllable of 

* object/ which may be correct, but I can find no other similar accentuation of this 
noun in Sh. — Ed.] 

219. monsters it] Wright: That is, makes it monstrous. 

219, 220. or . • • taint] Johnson interprets thus: 'her offence must be prodig- 
ious, or you must fall into reproach for having vouch' d affection which you did not 
feel.' By changing ' Fall,' of the Ff, into Falls, he says the same sense is produced, 
and adds 'another possible sense. "Or" signifies fefore; the meaning of the Ff 
may therefore be : " Sure her crime must be monstrous before your affection can be 
affected with hatred." ' Jennens, the sturdy champion of the Qq, enclosing the 
whole phrase in parentheses, thus defends and interprets their text : The best way 
to make sense [of the Qq text] will be to consider what was the real cause of the 
estrangement of Lear's love from Cordelia ; it was the vouch'd affections of his three 
daughters; the two eldest vouch'd such affection to him as was beyond all nature 
and possibility to a father; but Cordelia vouched only such an affection as was natural 
and reasonable for a daughter to feel for her father. Now, Lear was fallen into 




FaII r n into taint ; which to believe of her, 
Must be a faith that reason, without miracle, 
Should never plant in me. 

Cor. I yet beseech your majesty; 

(If for I want that glib and oily art, 
To speak and purpose not, since what I well intend, 
111 do't before I speak,) that you make known 



220. FaWn] Faint 0,0,. Fall Ff, 
Steev. Ec. Knt, Del. Sing. Dyce i, Sta. 
Ktly, Sch. Could not fall Rowe, Pope, 

220, 221. of Aer...without] One line, 

221. faith tkat..,.miracle] faith...*Ar 
miracle, Han. 

* 222. Should] Ff +, Ec Knt, Dyce, 
Sta.Wh.Sch. GwA/Qqetcet. 
plant] plaint Q,. 

222. majesty,] Mrie/fy. F t . 
222,223. I ytt...{If for] One line, 


223. (If for] Theob. ^(/wPbpe, 
Johns, Jen. No parenthesis, QqFf. (if 
so Han. 

If for] Seeing Cap. cpnj. 

223. 224. I..jpeak] One line, Han. 

224. well] will Ff, Rowe, Dei. i, Sch. 

225. make known]may knowQfy'ltSL 
[To France. Jen. 

taint, i, e. his judgement was corrupted, in preferring the extravagant and lying 
protestations of his eldest daughters to the sincere and just ones of his youngest. 
And if we jruminate a little, this is the only second reason for Lear's rejecting Corde- 
lia that can with any probability be supposed to be guessed at by France ; for it would 
be rude in Fiance to charge Lear with vouching the dearest affections to one he did 
not really love; and it is absurd to suppose that so great a love should change to 
hate, without she had committed some very great crime, and which France could 
not be brought to believe; therefore, this second guess becomes the only one, and the 
true one, viz : that Regan and Goneril had, by their superior art in coaxing, won all 
Lear's love from Cordelia. Malone held to this interpretation until he ' recollected 
that France had not heard the extravagant professions made by Regan and Goneril.' 
Then he gives what seems to me the true construction of the passage: < Either her 
offence monstrous, or, if she has not committed any such offence, the affection 
which you always professed to have for her must be tainted and decayed' [that 
is, ' must be ' is to be understood before * Fall'n.' It is easy to see how the text 
of the Ff arose. The last syllable of Fall/* was absorbed by the first syllable of 
•into,' so that even were Fall of the Ff to be adopted, I think it should be printed 

222. majesty] A dissyllable. 

223. If for] Abbott, § 387, supposes an ellipsis after « If* of it is, and takes • (or* 
as equivalent to because. Jennens and Eccles suppose that it is a broken speech, 
expressing the modest fear and bashful diffidence of Cordelia, heightened by her 
concern under her pitiable circumstances. For instances of * for,' meaning because, 
see Schmidt, Lex. s. v. 

225-227. that • . . step] Jennens, true to the Qq, and adopting their text here, 
believes that this is addressed to France; then, without making a period, Cordelia 
turns again to the king. 

act I, sc. i.] KING LEAR 33 

It is oo vicious blot, nor other foulness, 226 

226. nor other] Coll. (MS), Sing, it Sen. murder, or Q^ ct cet no slur, of 
murder or Q,. murther, or Ff> Wh. Cartwright. 

226. nor other] Collier (Afefer, &c, p. 451) : Murder or murther, of the Ff, 
seems entirely out of place; Cordelia could never contemplate that anybody would 
suspect her of murder as the ground of her father's displeasure ; she is referring to 
* vicious blots ' and ' foulness * in respect to virtue. The copyist or the compositor 
miswrote or misread nor other « murther.' Blackwood *s Maga. (Oct 1853, p. 464) : 
France has just before said : ' Sure her offence must be of such unnatural degree 
That monsters it ' — that is, it can be nothing short of some crime of the deepest dye, 
and therefore 'murder* does not seem to be so much out of place in the mouth of 
Cordelia. White pronounces this emendation * only specious; for "vicious blot" 
is altogether too general a term to be put in the alternative with " foulness," almost 
as general, and of like meaning. I do not doubt that Sh. wrote " murther." ' [In 
his Shakespeare's Scholar, White gave in his adherence to Collier's emendation, 
saying that ' murther is an easy and undeniable mistake for nor other} and that 
« murder' has no proper place in the category of blemishes enumerated by Cor* 
delia.] Walker (Crit. Hi, 275): What has murder to do here? Read umber. 
Malone on ' umber* d face,' Hen. V: IV, Chorus : ' Umber is a dark yellow earth 
brought from Umbria in Italy, which, being mixed with water, produces such a dusky 
yellow colour as the gleam of fire by night gives to the countenance. Our author's 
profession probably furnished him with this epithet ; for, from an old MS play, en* 
titled The Telltale, it appears that umber was nsed in the stage exhibitions of his 
time. In that piece, one of the marginal directions is 1 "lie umbers her face." ' 
Dyce (ed. 2) : Undoubtedly the original reading is a very suspicious one. Hal* 
LIWELL: Most readers will agree with Dyce. Bailey (ii, 89) proposes burden, 
because [Heaven save the mark !] the ' burden of guilt, the burden of dishonour, 
the burden of sorrow, are all Shakespearian expressions.' Staunton : Collier's (MS) 
emendation is certainly a very plausible substitution. Keiohtley : How could the 
pure and gentle Cordelia suppose herself to be suspected of murder ? which, more- 
over, accords not with the other charges she enumerates. I feel strongly persuaded that 
Sb.'s word was misdeed, which, if a little effaced, might easily be taken for ' murder. 9 
Hudson e Murder seems a strange word to be used here, and Collier's reading has 
some claims to preference ; but I suspect Cordelia purposely uses murder out of place, 
as a glance at the hyperbolical absurdity of denouncing her as ' a wretch whom Na- 
ture is ashamed to acknowledge.' Moberly : There seems good reason for adopting 
Collier's reading: the gradation ' vicious blot, murder, foulness ' would not be happy. 
Moreover, from the parallel expression, ' vicious mole of nature,' in Ham. I, iv, 24, 
we may conclude that in this line Cordelia refers to natural defects, which Lear might 
be supposed to have just discovered ; but in the next line : ' No unchaste action,' &c. 
to evil actions, from all suspicions of which she wishes to be cleared. [If ever 
emendation be necessary, here seems to be the occasion. Rather than suppose that 
Cordelia could be accused of murder, I would adopt Walkers far-fetched ' umber ' 
or Keightley's prosaic ' misdeed.' Instead, we have what is to me an emendatio 
eertissima, restoring the rhythm, according with the ductus lit cr arum t and offering 
no violence to the consistency of Cordelia's character. To White's objection, which 
seems to me the only serious one, that there is not enough of an alternative between 




[act i, sc L 

No unchaste aftion, or dishonoured step, 
\ That hath deprived me of your grace and favour; 
But even for want of that for which I am richer, 
A still-Soliciting eye, and such a tongue 
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it 
Hath lost me in your liking. 

Lear. Better thou 

Hadst not been born than not f have pleased me better. 



227.. unchaste] vncleam Qq. 

dishonoured] dishonord Q,. dis- 
honored F n . dijhonoured Q,F f F s F 4 . 
step] stoop Coll. iii. (MS). 

228. [To Lear. Jen. 

grace and] grace's Anon.* 

229. for want] the want Han. Cap. 
Ec. Huds. 

I am] /VwPope +,Jen.DyceiL 
richer] rich Qq. 

230. stUUsoliciting] Hyphen, Theob. 

231. That] As Qq, Cap. Jen. Coll. ii, 
Glo.+, Dyce ii, Mob. Huds. 

I have not] fve not Pope +. 

232. Better] Got to,goe to, tetter Qq 
(subs.), Jen. 

232, 233. £etter..Jetter.] Pope. The 
first line ends dome, Qq, Cap. Jen. At 
had/l, Ff, Rowe. 

233. /' have] thaveY v to hone Qq. 
have Pope +. 

• blot ' and ' foulness,' may there not be opposed that Cordelia's distress might make 
her verge on incoherence ? As Moberly truly says, ' the gradation from a vicious blot 
to murder, and then to foulness, is not happy. 9 This alone is so un-Shakespearian that 
of itself it would taint the line. Murder may have been a much less heinous crime 
in Shakespeare's days than at present, and Lady Capulet may have thought to cheer 
Juliet's drooping spirits with the contemplation of Romeo's assassination, but that it 
could ever have been of less degree than foulness demands a faith that reason with* 
out miracle can never plant in me. Can a parallel instance of anticlimax be found 
in Sh. ? And mark how admirably the lines are balanced : ' vicious blot or foul- 
ness, unchaste action or dishonour' d step.' — Ed.] 

229. But • • . richer] Wright: The construction is imperfect, though the sense 
is clear. We should have expected 'even the want, 9 as Hanmer reads, but Sh. was 
probably guided by what he had written in the line preceding, and mentally supplied 
' I am deprived. 9 There is an obscurity about ' for which.* It would naturally mean 
' for having which,' but here it must signify ' for wanting which. 9 

230. still] Constantly. See Ham. I, i, 122. 

231. I have] Moberly : Pronounce ' I've not. 9 

232. in your liking] Wright: The ' in ' denotes the amount of the loss,— as m 
the phrases, ' they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver '— Deut xxii, 19 ; 
'condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver,' &c. — 2 Chron. xxxvi, 3 ; and 
the common expression ' to stand one in,' for ' to cost. 9 The phrase may also be ex- 
plained, ' hath caused me loss in respect of your love. 9 

232. Better, &c] Bucknill (p. 177) : All this is exaggerated passion, perverted 
affection, weakened judgement; all the elements, in fact, of madness, except inco- 
herence and delusion. These are added later, but they are not essential to mad- 
ness ; and, as we read the play, the mind of Lear is, from the first, in a state of 
actual unsoundness, or, to speak more precisely, of disease* 

ACT I, SC. i.] 



France. Is it but this ? a tardiness in nature 
Which often leaves the history unspoke 
That it intends to do ? — My lord of Burgundy, 
What say you to the lady ? Love's not love 
When it is mingled with regards that stands 
Aloof from th* entire point Will you have her ? 
She is herself a dowry. 

Bur. Royal Lear, 

Give but that portion which yourself proposed, 
And here I take Cordelia by the hand, 
Duchess of Burgundy. 

Lear. Nothing. I have sworn ; I am firm. 

Bur. I am sorry then you have so lost a father 
That you must lose a husband. 

Cor. Peace be with Burgundy ! 

Since that respe&s of fortune are his love, 




234. but this f] no more but this, Qq, 

235. Which'] 73*/Qq,Jen. 
leaves') leva Q 3 . 

235-238. Which.. jtands]Thrtelmt*, 
ending do,...Lady f.. ./lands, Qq. 

237. Love's] Love is Qq, Jen. Steev. 
Ec Var. Coll. Sing. Ktly. 

238. regards that stands'] Sch.- re- 
gards, that stands Ff, Rowe. refpeets 
that /lands Qq. respects that stand 'Mai. 
Steer. Bos. Coll. Sing. Sta. Ktly. re- 
gards, and stands Cap. regards : that 
stands Jen. regards that standFope etcet 

23c* th>] Ff, Rowe+,Sing. Wh.Sch. 
M/Qq etcet 

paint. WUT]Qtte7. pointwil 
Q,. point, wtV7Q,Ff, Rowe. point. Say 
will Pope + , Cap. Jen. 

240. a dowry] and dowre Q f . and 
dower Q,, Jen. 

240-243. Royal...Burgundy.] Three 
lines, ending /<*?£?*... Cordelia... Bur- 
gundie, Q t ; ending portion.. Jake. .&vx- 
gundy, Q,. 

240. Lear] Q,. ZWr Q,. Ring Ff +, 
Knt, Dyce i, Wh. Sch. 

241. yourself] you yourself Bos. (mis* 
print ?) 

244. / have sworn; I am firm.] 1 
haue /worn, lam firm. Ff. / haue 
fworne. Qq, Jen. rve sworn. Pope+. 

245. lam] rm Pope + , Dyce ii, Huds. 
246-248. Peace. ...wife J] Two lines, 

the first ending refpecls, Qq. 

246. Burgundy] Burguny F a . 

247. respecls of fortune] refpeel and 
fortunes Ff, Rowe, Pope, Sch. 

235. history] Schmidt : Frequently used for what passes in the inner life of 
man. Cf. Son. xciii ; Meas.for Afeas. I, i, 29; Rich. Ill: III, v, 28. 

235. unspoke] Wright: Sh. uses both forms of the participle of the verb speak. 
See Temp. IV, i, 31. In the A. V. of the Bible the form * spoken ' alone occurs. 

237. Love's not love] Compare Son. xcvi. 

237. regards] Knight: Considerations. 

238. entire] Johnson: Single, unmixed with other considerations. Mobbrlt: 
The main point of affection. 

247. Since that] See Macb. IV, iii, 106, or Abbott, § 287. 

247. respects of fortune] If we adopt this reading, ' respects ' is used like * re* 

$6 KING LEAR [act i, sc. I 

I shall not be his wife. 

France. Fairest Cordelia, that ait most rich being poor, 
Most choice forsaken, and most loved despised, 250 

Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon. 
Be it lawful I take up what's cast away. 
Gods, gods 1 'tis strange that from their cold'st negleft 
My love should kindle to inflamed respeft* — 
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance, 255 

Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France. 
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy 
Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.— 
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind 
Thou losest here, a better where to find 260 

249. thai] thou Han. 258. Can] Shall Qq, Jen. Steer. Ec 

251. Mist) cease Q f . Var. Coll. Sing. Sta. Del. Ktly, Huds. 

252. Be if] BeU Pope +, Dyce ii. 259, 260. unkind; Thou] Theob. un- 

253. cold'st] couldft Q f . hinde, Thou Ff, Rowe, Pope, vnkind 
255. my chance] thy chance Qq. Thou Qq. 

*57* °f\ ** Q<1» J en ' 2D °* better where] better-where Ste. 

gards,' in line 238, or in Ham. II, ii, 79, and, of course, with the same meaning as 
in Ham. Ill, i, 68. But it is doubtful if the reading of the Ff be not better ; it 
means the same, and the turn of the phrase is certainly Shakespearian. Schmidt 
{Zur Textkritik, p. 15), in reference to this passage, has given' several instances 
of hendiadys in this very play, e.g. I, ii, 45: 'This policy and reverence of age/ 
equivalent to 'this policy of revering age;' I, ii, 165 : 'nothing like the image and 
horror of it,' equivalent to ' the horrible image of it;' I, iv, 336: ' This' milky gen- 
tleness and course of yours,' equivalent to 'gentle course;' II, ii, 74: 'With every 
gale and vary of their masters/ equivalent to ' every varying gale.' 

257. waterish]- Wright: Used with a notion of contempt. See Oth. Ill, in, 15. 
Burgundy was the best watered district of France. See Heylyn (A Little Descrip* 
Hon of the Great World, ed. 1633, p« 22) : 'That which Queene Katharine was wont 
\o say, that France had more rivers than all Europe beside ; may in like manner be 
•aid of this Province in respect of France.' 

258. unprized] Abbott, §375: This may mean 'unprized by others, but pre- 
cious to me.' Wright : Or it may mean priceless, as • unvalued,' in Rich. Ill: I, 
iv, 27, signifies invaluable. 

259. unkind] Staunton : It here signifies unnatural, unless France is intended 
to mean, though unkinrid, i. e. though forsaken by your kindred. 

260. here • • • where] Johnson : These have the power of nouns. Wright : 
Compare the Preface of the Translators to the Reader prefixed to the Authorized 
Version of the Bible : « As for example, if we translate the Hebrew or Greek word 
once by Purpose, neuer to call it Intent; if one where Iourneying, neuer Traueil- 
tng ; if one where Thinke, neuer Suppose ; if one where Paine, neuer Ache,' &c 

ACT I, SC. 1.] 



Lear. Thou hast her, France. Let her be thine, for we 261 
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see 
That face of hers again. — Therefore be gone 
Without our grace, our love, our benison. — 
Come, noble Burgundy. 265 

[Flourish. Exeunt all but France \ Goneril, 

Regan, and Cordelia. 

France. Bid farewell to your sisters. 

Cor. Ye jewels of our lather, with wash'd eyes 
Cordelia leaves you. I know you what you are ; 
And, like a sister, am most loath to call 

Your faults as they are named. Love well our father. 270 

To your professed bosoms I commit him ; 
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace, 

261, 262. forwe...see] One line, Qq. 

263. 264. Therefore.....benison] Cap. 
was the first to indicate, by dashes, that 
this is addressed to Cordelia. 

264,265. Without. ..Burgundy.] One 
line, Qq. 

264. cur love} without our love Johns, 
(misprint ?) 

265. [Flourish.] Om. Qq. 
Exeunt..] Exit Lear and Bur- 
gundy. Qq. Exeunt. Ff. Exeunt Lear, 
Burgundy, Cornwal, Albany, Gloster, 
and Attendants. Cap. 

266. Scene rv. Pope +, Jen. 
sisters,'] sisters t Q f . 

267. Ye jewels] Rowe ii+, Quincy 
(MS), Cap. Dyce ii, Wh. Hal. Huds. 
Coll. iii. The jewels QqFf et cet 

267-270. The., father :] Four lines, 
ending Father t ....are t ....faults..~Father 9 

268. you what] whafRawt ii + , Cap. 

270. Love] Ff + , Jen. Knt, Coll. Del. 
Dyce, Wh. Huds. Sch. Ufe Qq et cet 

271. professed] professing Pope+, 
Quincy (MS), Cap. Ec. 

Other instances of adverbs used as nouns. are ' upward,' V, iii, 137 ; 'inward,' Son. 
cxxviii, 6 : ' outward,' Son. box, 5 ; and ' backward,' Temp. I, ii, 5a 

267. Ye jewels] Stbevems : It is frequently impossible in ancient MS to distin- 
guish The from its customary abbreviation. Walker (Crit. iii, 276) supports the Thi 
of the QqFf by quotations from Browne and Spenser, but, as Dyce says, they are 
not parallel to the present passage. Moberly : ' You who are naturally dear and 
precious to him.' Halliwell: The old reading makes sense, but The and Ye 
being constantly written the same in MSS, there can be little hesitation in adopting 
the latter reading, which seems to improve the sentence. Schmidt gives several in* 
stances of the use of The before the vocative: Cor. I, vi, 6; Jul. Cos. V, iii, 99; 
Per. Ill, i, 1 ; but of these the first alone is parallel, and the last is generally printed 
• Thou ' instead of Thi. 

267. wash'd] For instances of the use of this word as applied to tears, see 
Schmidt, Lex. s. v. 

268. know you] For instances of the redundant object, see Walker, Crit. i, 68 ; 
or Abbott, $ 414. 

271. professed] Delius: Cordelia commits her father to the love which her 
sisters had 'professed, not to that which they really feel. 


I would prefer him to a better place. 273 

So farewell to you both. 

Reg. Prescribe not ' us our duty. 

Gan. Let your study 275 

Be to content your lord, who hath received you 
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, 
And well are worth the want that you have wanted. 

Car. Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides; 

2 73* f r 'f' r ] Pttfcr F«- ending Lord t ...almes,... /canted, Qq. 

274. both.] both t Q,. 277. At] As Cap. Ec. Hal. 

275. Reg....Gon.] Gonor3L...Regan. 278. worih...wanted] worth the worth 
Qq. that you haue wanted Qq. worthy to 

not 9 ] Ed. not QqFf ct cet. want that you have wanted Han. 

#«(?.] Ff (</**& F t )+, Coll. Del. 279. plighted] pleated r Q t Q,. pleeted 

Dyce i, Wh. Sch. duties / Q,. duties. Q r plaited Pope ii +, Cap. Jen. Stecv. 

Q.etcet* Ec Var. Glo.+,Mob. 
275-277. Let..jeanted,] Three lines, 

273. prefer] Schmidt : That is, address, direct, or, better, recommend. 
275. not 9 us] In the belief that the to, in the full phrase * prescribe not to us/ is 
absorbed in the final / of • not' I have printed the text as above. See II, ii, 1 16.— Ed. 

278. worth • . • wanted] Theobald : ' Yon well deserve to meet with that want 
of love from your husband, which you have profess'd to want for our Father.' War- 
burton : This nonsense musf be corrected thus : 'worth .... vaunted,' i. e. that 
disherison, which you so much glory in, you deserve. Heath: Sh. might have 
written : « the want that yon have wasted, 9 i. e. yon will deserve to want that which 
yon have yourself so wastefully and unnecessarily thrown away. Tollet : * Yon are 
well deserving of the want of dower that you are without V Jennens: The old 
reading is not elegant, indeed, but it is intelligible, — it is like * seeding seed * — Gen. 
i. 29. Gapell: The Qq reading, with this addition, viz : 'are worth to want the 
worth that you have wanted ' has a plain sense, and one worthy the utterer, and gives 
a roundness to the jingle. Eccles : It might be read : ' worth to want that you have 
wanted,'— 'that 9 taken demonstratively, and not relatively,— or else, 'the want of 
that you've wanted.' Wright : Dr. Badham combined the texts of Ff and Qq thus : 
' And well are worthy want that worth have wanted.' The difficulty seems to arise 
from the imperfect connection of the relative with its antecedent. The use of the 
word ' want ' has, apparently, the effect of always making Shakespeare's construc- 
tions obscure. See line 220^ Goneril says, ' you have come short in your obedience, 
and well deserve the want of that affection in which you yourself have been want- 
ing.' Otherwise [with Jennens], we must regard ' the want that yon have wanted ' 
as an instance of the combination of a verb with its cognate accusative [which is 
the view Schmidt takes]. Moberly: The text of the Qq might be emended thus : 
' Which well were worth the word that you have wanted,' 1. e. yet obedience might 
have claimed from you the one word which you would not say. 

279. plighted] Theobald (Sh. Rest., p. 171) suggested pleached, i.e. twisted, 
entangled, but preferred plaited, i. e. wrapt in folds, which Pope adopted in his ed. 2* 
Malone once thought it should be plated, as in IV, vi, 169, but was afterwards con- 


Who cover faults, at last shame them derides. 280 

Well may yon prosper I 

France. Come, my fair Cordelia. 

[Exeunt France and Cordelia. 

Gon. Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most 
nearly appertains to us both. I think our father will hence 

280. cover] Jen. cotters QqFf +, Ec. 282-284. Sister. to-night.] Cap, 

Knt, Del. i, Ktly, Sch. cover* dHm. Cap. Three lines, ending fay,...both,. Jo-night, 

shame them derides] vnthjhame QqFf + , Jen. 

derides Ff + , Cap. Ec Knt, Del. i, Sing. 282. little I have] a little I have Qq, 

ii, Sch. their shame derides Anon.* Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Sing. Ktly, 

281. my] Om. Qq. Glo,+, Huds. Mob. little rve Pope +. 
[Exeunt...] Exit..QqF 1 F B . 2$^. hence] go hence Rowe+. 

282. Scene v. Pope +, Jen. 

vinced, by the word * unfold/ that flailed of the Qq was the true reading. Knight : 
To « plight ' and to plait equally mean ' to fold.' In Milton's Hist, of England, 
Boadicea wears ' a plighted garment of divers colours.' In the exquisite passage in 
Comus 1 * I took it for a fairy vision Of some gay creatures of the element, That in 
the colours of the rainbow live, And play i' th' plighted clouds ' — the epithet has 
the same meaning. Staunton : ' Plighted ' means involved, complicated. Wright? 
For the Folio spelling, see Spenser, Faery Queene, ii, 3, § 26 : « All in a silken Camus 
lilly whight, Purfled upon with many a folded plight.' Cotgrave gives, « Pli : m. A 
plait, fould, lay ; bought ; wrinkle, crumple.' 

280. coyer] Mason: The Ff are right, with the change of a single letter: covert 
instead of ' covers.' Thus, ' Who covert faults at last with shame derides.' ' Who ' 
referring to 'time.' [This reading was followed by Rann.] Henley: Cordelia 
alludes to Prov. xxviii, 13 : ' He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, 9 &c. Singer. 
(ed. 2) : I have no doubt we should read cover-faLults, i. e. dissemblers, and that the 
meaning is : ' Time shall unfold what cunning duplicity hides, who (Time) at last 
derides such dissemblers with shame, by unmasking them.' [And this compound 
Singer adopted into the text of Sh., for whose purity, as against Collier's (MS) 
emendations, he had contended so vehemently, and, it should be added, so intem- 
perately. — Ed.] Dyce: I adhere to the Qq, because I feel convinced that 'Who' 
refers to people in general, — * Those who,' &c. As to the with of the Folio (which, 
by the by, Mr. Collier's (MS) changes to them), I can no more account for it, than 
for hundreds of other strange things which the Folio exhibits. Schmidt refers 
• Who ' to « time,' and says that « faults ' is the object of both ' covers ' and « derides.' 
[I cannot but agree with Dyce's interpretation. — Ed.] 

282. most] Capell thinks that this ' word is crept into GoneriPs speech out of 
her sister's that follows, which makes a part of it verse : •' most," therefore, should be 

283. hence] Eccles : There is not, I think, throughout the play, the least hint 
given as to the particular part of the realm in which any scene lies, till we are intro- 
duced towards the conclusion into the neighborhood of Dover ; nor are we informed 
whether it be intended that either of the sisters should make the palace of Lear her 



[act I.SC.I 

Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month 285 
with us. 

Gon. You see how full of changes his age is ; the obser- 
vation we have made of it hath not been little ; he always 
loved our sister most ; and with what poor judgement he 
hath now cast her off appears too grossly. 290 

Reg. Tis the infirmity of his age ; yet he hath ever but 
slenderly known himself. 

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but 
rash ; then must we look from his age to refceive, not alone 
the imperfections of long-ingraffed condition, but therewithal 295 
the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring 
with them. 

Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from 
him as this of Kent's banishment 

Gon. There is further compliment of leave-taking be- 300 

285. most] Om. Pope+. 

287. is; the] is the Q t . 

288. hath not been] hath beene Ff, 
Rowe, Knt, Del. i, Sch. 

290. too] too too F,F 3 F 4 , Rowe. 
grossly] groffeQq. 

294. from his age to receive] Ff+ f 
Jen. Knt, Wh. Sch. to receive from his 
age Qq et cet. 

295. imperfeclions] imperfeclion Qq. 

295. long-ingraffed] Hyphen, Pope. 
ingraffed] engraffed F 3 F 4 , Knt, 

Dyce, Sta. Glo. Mob. ingrafted Qq, 
Cap. Jen. Cam. Wr. engrafted Pope + , 
Steev. Var. Coll. Sing. Wh. 

296. the] Om. Qq. 
298. starts] stars Q;. 

300. There is] Then his Anon.* 

compliment] Johns, complement 

future residence. All we know is, that he was to abide alternately with them in 
whatsoever part they held their court. 

For ellipsis of the verb of motion after will and is, see Abbott, § 405. 

288. hath not been] Dyce says that the reading of the Ff defies common sense. 
Schmidt, while acknowledging that the 'not' may have dropped by mischance 
from the line of the Ff, thinks that a good sense may yet be extracted from that 
line by making * have ' emphatic. Thus : All our observation in the past is little in 
comparison with what we may expect in the future, to judge from Lear's treatment 
of Cordelia. 

291. age] Moberly: These women come of themselves, and at once, to the feel- 
ing which it requires all Iago's art to instil into Othello ; on whom it is at length 
urged that Desdemona must be irregular in mind, or she would not have preferred 
him to the * curled darlings • of Venice. 

293. time] Wright : That is, his best and soundest years. See I, ii, 46. 

295. ingraffed] Wright : This spelling, and that in the Qq, are both used by 
Sh., though the former is the more correct, the word being derived from the Fr. 
greffer. In Lucrece, 1062, we find the substantive «granV 

295. condition] M alone : That is, the qualities of mind, confirmed by long habit 


tween France and him. Pray you, let us hit together ; if 301 
our father carry authority with such disposition as he bears, 
this last surrender of his will but offend us. 

Reg. We shall further think of it 

Gon. We must do something, and i' th' heat [Exeunt 305 

301. France] Burgundy Han. Han. 

Pray you] pray Qq. 302. disposition] Ff + , Sch. difpojt* 

let us hit] Theob. lets hit Qq, Horn Qq et cet. 
Glo.+, Mob. let us fit Ff, Rowe, Pope, 304. of if] on't Qq, Cap. Glo.+. 

Han. Cap. Ec. Knt, Sch. 305. V th % ] it'h Qq. 

302. authority with] authority, with 

301. hit] Steevens: That is, let us agree. Hudson: The meaning of what 
follows probably is, if the king continue in the same rash, headstrong, and incon- 
stant temper, as he has just shown, in snatching back his authority the moment his 
will is crossed, we shall be the worse off for his surrender of the kingdom to us. 
Schmidt (Zur Textkritik, p. 15) earnestly contends, but I am afraid in vain, for 
' sit ' of the Ff. ' To strike together/ he says, « or to act in harmony, as it is expressed 
by " to hit together," is not a matter of free will, but proceeds directly from the nature 
of things, and is not something to which one can be invited. . • . Whereas, the phrase 
" sit together," has the plain and manifest meaning — to hold a session, to take counsel 
together. Goneril would forthwith see a common plan agreed upon, and to Regan's 
dilatory answer: " We shall think further of it," replies : " We must do something, 
and i' th' heat," and for this an agreement is of course essential, and an agreement 
she demands in the words " let us sit together." ' Schmidt then adduces the fol- 
lowing instances in proof: Twelfth Night, I, v, 143; Ham. V, i, 4; Hen, V: V, ii. 
80; Rich. Ill: HI, i, 173; Cor. V, ii, 74; lb. V, iii, 131 ; Per. II, iii, 92. But in 
all these instances, except, perhaps, the last, there is reference to a judicial assembly 
or a session more or less formal and solemn, and a meaning is conveyed which I 
cannot but think strained when applied to an agreement between two sisters. — Ed. 

302. disposition] Dyce: As to 'dispositions' or disposition,— either reading may 
stand; we have afterwards both forms from the mouth of the presentspeaker. See 
I, iv, 215 and 286. 

305. heat] Steevens: That is, we must strike while the iron is hot. 


... 4 




Scene II. The Earl of Gloucester's castle. 

Enter Edmund, with a Utter. 

Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess ; to thy law 1 

My services are bound. Wherefore should I 

Scene ii.] Om. Rowe. Scene vi. Enter...1etter.] Rowe (subs.). Enter 

Pope +, Jen. Baftard folus. Qq (felas Q y ) Enter 

The... castle.] A Castle belonging to Baftard. Ff. 

the Earl of Glo'ster. Pope. A Hall in 1-26. f\ Prose, Qq. 
the Earl of Gloster's Castle. Cap. 

Eccles disapproves of this order of the scenes ; in his judgement the accusation 
01 Edgar by Edmund labours under a weight of improbability, which is increased 
the longer that Edgar remains concealed without taking any steps to vindicate him- 
self; that he should lie thus quiet, during all the time that passes from the opening 
day of the tragedy to Lear's stormy departure for Gloster's castle, is ' an outrage 
upon common sense too gross to be admitted,' thinks Eccles, who, therefore, trans- 
poses this scene to the beginning of Act II, bringing it immediately before the scene 
where Edmund persuades Edgar to fly, and pretends that he has been wounded. 
Thus, the two scenes are ' brought within the compass of the same day, and a few 
hours only, or less, may be conceived to intervene between them.' This consum- 
mation, however, is not attained without loss ; for Sh. clearly intended that this scene 
should be where he put it, as the second of the tragedy: Gloster enters sadly, mut- 
tering : * Kent banished thus, And France in choler parted ? And the king gone to- 
night ? subscribed his power ? Confined to exhibition ? All this done upon the gad !' 
(lines 23-26). But Eccles says that Sh. was liable to 'unhappy oversights' of dra- 
matic probability, and this must be one ; ' these obnoxious lines,' therefore, he cuts 
out and * degrades ' to the bottom of the page, begging forgiveness for the act, on 
the ground that he is * in pursuit of a favorite object which is essential to the rea- 
sonableness and consistency of this admirable drama; more especially as the lines 
in themselves are of small importance, and the only ones so treated ' by him. 

I. Nature] Warburton : Sh. makes this bastard an atheist. Italian atheism had 
much infected the English court. Steevens: Edmund speaks of ' nature' in oppo- 
sition to * custom,' and not to the existence of a God. Edmund means only, that as 
he came not into the world as ' custom ' or law had prescribed, so he had nothing to 
do but to follow ' nature ' and her laws, which make no difference between legitimacy 
and illegitimacy, between the eldest and the youngest. To contradict Warburton's 
assertion yet more strongly, Edmund concludes this very speech by an invocation to 
heaven. Mason : Edmund calls ' nature ' his ' goddess ' for the same reason that 
we call a bastard a natural son,— one who, according to the law of nature, is the 
child of his father, but according to that of civil society is nullius filius, Cole- 
ridge : In this speech of Edmund you see as soon as a man cannot reconcile him- 
self to reason, how his conscience flies off by way of appeal to Nature, who is sure 
upon such occasions never to find fault, and also how shame sharpens a predisposi- 
tion in the heart to evil. For it is a profound moral, that shame will naturally gene- 
rate guilt ; the oppressed will be vindictive, like Shylock, and in the anguish of 
undeserved ignominy the delusion secretly springs up, of getting over the moral 
quality of an action by fixing the mind on the mere physical act alone. 

actx,sc.u.] KING LEAR 43 

Stand in the plague of custom, and permit 

The curiosity of nations to deprive me, 

For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines 5 

Lag of a brother? Why bastard ? wherefore base ? 

3. in] to Han. on Quincy (MS). Cap. Jen. 

plague] plage Warb. place Simp- 4. deprive'} despise Quincy (MS), 

son. tyranny Mrs. Griffiths. me,] met Ff. 

4. curiosity] nicety Pope, curtesie 6. Why. .. base t] and why bastard? 
Theob. Warb. courtesy Han. Johns. base? Han. 

3. plague] Warburton: An absurd expression. Read//dgv, t. e. the place, the 
country, the boundary of custom. Plage is in common use amongst the old English 
writers. Capell : The speaker calls * custom ' a • plague ' or vexation, and asks why 
he should ' stand in it, 9 meaning be exposed to it. Johnson : I can scarcely think 
« plague ' right. Staunton : • Plague ' may here possibly signify place, or boundary 
from plaga ; but it is a very suspicious word. Wright : I cannot help thinking 
that Sh. had in his mind a passage in the Prayer-book Version of Psalm xxxviii, 17, 
4 And I truly am set in the plague ;' where ' plague * is used in a sense for which I 
have found no parallel. The version evidently follows the Latin of Jerome's transla- 
tion, < Quia ego ad plagam paratus sum. 9 Halliwell : Edmund cites for a reason of 
the contempt of the world not merely his illegitimacy, but his juniority, so that the 
plague is here also the infectious rule of custom, that bids the younger yield to the 
elder, a decree he determines wickedly to evade by becoming the only son. 

4. curiosity] Theobald: This should be curtesie, as in As You Like It, I, i, 49. 
Nor must we forget that tenure in our laws, whereby some lands are held by the 
« curtesie of England.' And I ought to take notice that I had the concurrence of 
the ingenious Dr. Thirlby, who hinted to me this very emendation before he knew I 
made it. Heath : It is not suitable to Edmund's character to term that a curtesy 
which he endeavors to expose as a folly, and in virtue of which he was to be him- 
self so great a sufferer. Mason : By ' curiosity ' Edmund means the nicety, the 
strictness, of civil institutions. White: 'Curiosity* is what Johnson would have 
called scrupulosity. Walker ( Vers. 201) : The i in -ity is almost uniformly dropt 
in pronunciation. I believe that Sh. pronounced curious* ty; for, according to 
our common pronunciation, this verse is a verse only in name. The Bible Word- 
book cites, < The Scripture then being acknowledged to bee so full and so perfect, 
how can wee excuse our selues of negligence, if we doe not studie them, of curiositie, 
if we be not content with them. 9 — The Translators to the Reader. Also : ' Now, as 
concerning the funerals and enterring of her, I pray you, let the same be performed 
without all curiositie and superstition. 9 — Holland's Plutarch, Morals, p. 533. [Cot- 
grave : Curiosite : daintinesse, nicenesse ; affectation. See I, i, 5, and I, iv, 66. — Ed.] 

4. deprive] Steevens: Synonymous in Shakespeare's time with disinherit. 
Wright: Compare Baret's Alvearie [s. v. to deprive]*. 'To cast his sonne out 
of his house, to depriue or put him from the hope of succession, or inheritance, 
for some misdeede: to abastardize him. 9 

6. Lag] In Bell's Shakespeare's Puck, iii, 94, there is a suggestion, founded on a 
misapprehension of the passage, that this word may have been originally the same 
as the word law as found in the hunting phrase of ' giving a stag so much law before 
the dogs are let loose. 9 

44 KING LEAR [act x, sc. u. 

When my dimensions are as well compaft, 7 

My mind as generous and my shape as true. 

As honest madam's issue ? Why brand they us 

With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base? 10 

Who in the lusty stealth of nature take 

More composition and fierce quality 

Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed, 

Go to th' creating a whole tribe of fops, 

Got 'tween asleep and wake ? Well then, 5 

Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. 

Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund 

As to the legitimate ; fine word, ' legitimate! 

Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed 

And my invention thrive, Edmund the base 20 

7. dimensions] dementions Qq. Jen. Mai. creating Vopt+ , Ec 

9. As. ..issue] One line, Jen. 15. asleep] Cap. a-sleep Pope+. a 

10. With...basc t] WithBafet With Jleepe Q^F,. a flcef F,F 4 , Rowe. 

bafenes Barftadiet Bafe % Bafet F, fic&Q* 

(same punctuation F a F s F 4 ). wilhbafe, then] the Qq. then, good brother, 

bafe baftardie t Qq, Jen. Han. 

13. dull, stale] flale dull Qq. 1 8. fin* word, « legitimate P] Om. Qq. 
tired] tyred r Ff. lyedQ^. /fc/Q,. 20. the base] thee base Ktly (mis- 

14. Goto] Co F S F 4 . print?). 
M' creating] the creating of Qq, 

6. bastard] Hanmer : Edmund inveighs against the tyranny of custom, both in 
respect to younger brothers and to bastards. But he must not be understood, in the 
former, to mean himself; the argument becomes general by implying more than is 
said : < Wherefore should I or any man,' &c. Boswell : Why should he not mean 
himself in both instances ? He was a younger brother. Moberly : The word is 
from the Celtic «bas-tardh' (low birth). The Welsh, however, only learned very 
unwillingly in Edward l's time to adopt the English ^curiosity 9 as regards illegiti- 
mate children. [Can. we not infer from this line and line 10 that the pronunciation 
in Shakespeare's time was base-tardf] 

9. madam's] Delius : As is frequently the case in Sh. it is here used ironically. 

14. the creating] Abbott, § 93. Although this is a noun, and therefore pre- 
ceded by < the,' yet it is so far confused with the gerund as to be allowed the privilege 
of governing a direct object. See Afaeb. I, iv, 8. 

14. fops] According to Schmidt this does not mean fools or dandies, as it does 
now, but dupes, — that is, men who are destined to be duped or deceived by men of 
'more composition and fierce quality.' Furthermore, this original meaning of the 
word is found in all the instances of its use by Sh. Compare ' This is the excellent 
foppery of the world,' line 112; that is, dupery. 

15. 'tween] Dodd: 1 think the passage originally stood 'atween sleep and wake* 9 
The a might very easily have been so transposed. 


Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper; 21 

( Now, gods, stand up for bastards 1 

Enter Gloucester. 

Glou. Kent banish'd thus ? and France in choler parted ? 
And the king gone to-night ? subscribed his power ? 

21. top the] Cap. tooth* Qq (toohQJ. 21. I grow; J prosper] Ay t grow;ay § 

to* tV F f F,. to th* F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Pope i. prosper Sch. conj. 

be th f Pope ii+. toe th' Han. Mai. foe 23. Scene vix. Pope+, Jen. 

the Mason, to the Del. Ktly. 24. subscribed] fubfcribd Q,. fub> 

legitimate.] Johns, legitimate: fcriVd Q,. Pre/crib V Ff, Rowe, Knt, 

QqFf, Han. legitimate — Rowe, Pope. Sch. 
Del. Ktly. 

21. top] Hanmer : As • the treading upon another's heels' is an expression used 
to signify the being not far behind him, so to toe another means to come up to and 
be on even ground with him. Warburton : Here the Oxford editor would show 
us that he is as good at coining phrases as his author, and so alters the text thus: 
• Shall toe the legitimate/ 1. e. says he, ' stand on even ground with him ;' as he would 
do with his author. Edwards (Canons ofCrit^ p. 221, ed. 7) : Poor Sir Thomas ! 
Woe be to you, if you invade Mr. Warburton's prerogative of coining words for Sh. ! 
One may fairly say here that ' the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of our 
courtier that it galls his kibe.' But Mr. Warburton ought to have taken notice that 
the old reading is ' shall to th' legitimate/ which, though it misled Sir Thomas, may 
perhaps direct to the right word : * Shall top the/ &c, which he would do if he got 
the inheritance from him, though that could not make him be the legitimate. [These 
notes are given as instances of the amenities that help to make the early comments 
on Sh. so full of * sweetness and light 9 — Ed.] Capell, referring to this emendation 
of Edwards, says, that 'it appeared in the Canons, into which it was receiv'd from 
this editor (together with other communications concerning readings of copies) by 
♦hat ingenious work's writer : This emendation will have no impugners or doubters, 
if that corruption be look'd upon out of which it arose ; if it's opposition to " base " be 
considered, and (which is yet a stronger matter than either) it's connection with 
" grow," which has no natural introduction unless preceded by " top." ' Jennens : If 
conjecture be made without any regard to the traces of the letters, out or rout are 
better than be, Malonb : In Devonshire, as Sir Joshua Reynolds informs me, ' to 
toe a thing up is to tear it up by the roots ; in which sense the word is perhaps used 
here, for Edmund immediately adds " I grow, I prosper." ' Delius thus vindicates 
Rowe's reading, which he follows : ' The Bastard, if his plan succeed, will to the 
legitimate-* What he will inflict upon him he does not say ; he is interrupted by the 
entrance of his father, at the mere sight of whom he exclaims, in tones of assured 
victory, u I grow, I prosper." ' [For other instances of the use of this word in the 
same sense see Schmidt's Lex J] Nichols (Notes , &c, No. 2, p. 9) follows the Ff, 
and interprets : ' Shall advance to, or take the place of, the legitimate.' 

24. subscribed] Johnson : To « subscribe ' is to transfer by signing or subscrib- 
ing a writing of testimony. Malone : In Sh. it means to yield t or surrender* So 
afterwards III, ii, 18; also Tro. and Cres. IV, v, 105. White: That is, yielded. 
This seems to be a perversion of the figurative use of ' subscribe ' in the sense of 


Confined to exhibition ? All this dene 25 

Upon the gad ! — Edmund, how now 1 what news ? 

Edm. So please your lordship, none. 

Glou. Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter ? 

Edm. I know no news, my lord 

Glou. What paper were you reading ? 30 

Edm. Nothing, my lord 

Glou. No ? What needed then that terrible dispatch of 

25. this done] this donneQ t . this gone cet. Om. QqFf. 

F,F,F 4 , Rowe. is gone Pope, Theob. 28. Why] Whe F,. 

Han. Warb. 32. needed] ntedes Q f . needs Q^. 

27. [Putting up the letter— Rowe et terrible] terribe Q t . 

submit, to which yield is a synonyme, though not in a transitive sense; e.g. Tarn. 
Shr. I, i, 81. Prescribe of the Folio might be accepted in the sense of limited, cir* 
eumscrib f d his power, were it not that the king is manifestly the nominative under- 
stood. Schmidt (Zur Texthritih, &c, p. 16) prefers prescribed* which he says 
means ' his power is restricted, limited, confined in its exercise. The expression is 
not exactly what might have been expected from Gloucester; we might wish for a 
word a little less tame when applied to an event which so greatly excites him, but 
it is perfectly intelligible.' From the expression ' Prescribe not us our duties,' I, i, 
275, Schmidt infers that ' prescribe ' need not of necessity be followed by ' to,' and 
thus Sh. might have used the passive form * we are prescribed our duties.' If this 
be so, then he conjectures that we might punctuate these lines differently: 'And the 
king gone to-night ? prescribed ? his power Confined to exhibition ?' [Dr. Schmidt 
failed to note that the ' to' is not really absent in ' Prescribe not us our duties,' but 
is simply absorbed in the preceding ' not.' In his edition of this play he goes even 
further, and says that we are nowhere justified (not even in III, vii, 64) in inter* 
preting ' to subscribe ' by to yield, to surrender, or to submit. To me Dr. Johnson's 
interpretation is satisfactory. Sh. may have intended, by this one word, to convey 
the idea that there had been a formal abdication. — Ed.] 

25. exhibition] Johnson : That is, allowance. The term is yet used in the uni- 
versities. Steevens: So in Two Gent. I, iii, 69. Nares: Also Jonson, Silent 
Woman, III, i, 'Behave yourself distinctly and with good morality; or, I protest 
1*11 take away your exhibition.' Moberly : Restricted to a mere maintenance ; as 
in Roman law, * si liberi ali desiderent, ut a parente exhibeantur.' So we have 
♦exhtbere viam' for 'to keep up a road.' 

26. gad] Johnson : Upon the sudden stimulation of caprice, as cattle run mad* 
ding when they are stung by the gadfly. Ritson : Done suddenly, or as before, 
while ' the iron is hot.' A ' gad ' is an iron bar. The Statute of 2 and 3 Eliza. 6, 
c. 27, is a ' Bill against false forging of iron gadds, instead of gadds of steel.' 
Collier: Upon the spur; in Tit. And. IV, 103, the hero wishes to engrave on 
brass with ' a gad of steel,' s. e. a point of steel. Moberly strangely defines it as 
' at haphazard.' 

32. terrible] White : This is not the mere meaningless expletive so often used 
by uncultivated people. Edmund hides the letter away in haste and terror. Schmidt 
calls attention to the active meaning which adjectives in -ble had in Shakespeare's 

ACT I. SC. ii.] KING LEAR 47 

it into your pocket ? the quality of nothing hath not such 
need to hide itself. Let's see; come, if it be nothing, I shall 
not need spectacles. 35 

Edm. I beseech you, sir, pardon me ; it is a letter from 
my brother, that I have not all o'er-read ; and for so much 
as I have perused, I find it not fit for your o'er-looking. 

Glou. Give me the letter, sir. 

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give it The con- 40 
tents, as in part I understand them, are to blame. 

Glou. Let's see, let's see. 

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this 
but as an essay or taste of my virtue. 

Glou. [Reads] ' This policy and reverence of age makes 45 
tlie world bitter to the best of our times ; keeps our fortunes 

36. Edm.] Baft. Q a Ff. Ba. Q t . 44. taste] test Coll. iii. 

37. and] Om. Qq. 45. [Reads] A Letter. Qq. 

38. o'er-looking] lihingQq. overlook* ana* reverence] Om. Qq. in rev* 
ing Warb. Johns. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. erence Han. 

40, 41. /...blame] Three lines, ending age] ages Pope ii, Theob. Warb. 
it :..Jhem..Mame. in Ff. 46. to the best] to beft F,F S F 4 . 

41. to blame] too blame QtQJF^F,. times;] times F 4 . 

time. Thus, 'audible* in Coriolanus means hearing well; 'contemptible' means 
contemptuous; ' unmeritable,' undeserving, 9 &c. 

41. to blame] For instances of the infinitive active for the infinitive passive, see 
Abbott, § 359 and § 405, also Ham. IV, iv, 44. 

44. essay or taste] Johnson : Though ' taste ' may stand here, yet I believe we 
should read, ' assay or test; 9 they are both metallurgical terms and properly joined. 
Steevens: Both are terms from royal tables. See V, iii, 144. Singer: Thus Baret, 
Ahearii : ' to Assay or rather Essay of the French woorde Essayer} and afterwards : 
•To tast or assay before. Pralibo.' Wright: Proof or trial. The two words 
« essay ' and « assay ' are etymologically the same. In 1 Samuel, xvii, 39, it is said 
of David in Saul's armour that he ' assayed to go,' that is, tried or attempted to go. 
• Taste ' occurs both as a noun and verb as synonymous with ' test. 9 Compare 1 
Hen. IV; IV, {,119. Cotgrave has, 'Essay: m. An essay, proofe . • • also, the 
tast, or Essay taken of Princes meat, or drinke.' [See Ham. II, ii, 411 : 'a taste 
of your quality.'] 

45. policy] Capell : The beginning of Edgar's letter is darken* d by a remov'd 
sense of ' policy,' and our imagin'd connection of it with ' age * or old age ; « policy ' 
has here the sense of— police, political regiment, the world's evil [? civil] ordering ; 
and it is of this « policy,' and the reverence establish'd by it, that he is made to com. 
plain. Schmidt considers 'policy and reverence' as a hendiadys for 'policy of 
Holding in reverence,' ' like respect and fortunes ' in I, i, 247. 

.46. the best of our times] Wright : The best periods of our lives. See I, 

4 8 


[act i, sc ii. 

from us till our oldness cannot relish tliem. I begin to find 47 
an idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny ; 
who sways 9 not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come 
to me, that of this I may speak more. If our fatlier would 50 
sleep till I waked /dm, you should enjoy half Ids revenue for 
ever, and live the beloved of your brotlier, Edgar. 

Hum! Conspiracy? — Sleep till I waked him, you should 
enjoy half Ids revenue I — My son Edgar! Had he a hand 
to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in? — When 55 
came this to you? who brought it? 

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord ; there's the cun- 
ning of it ; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet 

Glou. You know the charafter to be your brother's ? 

Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear 60 
it were his ; but, in respeft of that, I would fain think it 
were not 

Glou. It is his. 

Edm. It is his hand, my lord ; but I hope his heart is 
not in the contents. 65 

Glou. Has he never before sounded you in this busi- 

Edm. Never, my lord ; but I have heard him oft main- 

49. who] which Rowe + , Cap. 
51,54,71. revenue] reuenew Qq. Reu- 
ennew F t F a . 

52. brother,] Steev. brother Qq, 
Theob. Warb. Johns. Cap. Jen. brother. 
Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 

53. Sleep] flept C&. 

waked] wakt Qq. wake Ff +, 

55. brain] a brain Rowe. 

56. this to you] you to this F t F t , Sch. 
61. his...respecl of] his but in respeel, 

63. // is his,] It is hist Q f . Is it his* 


64. but] Ora. F,F 3 F 4 +. 

66. Has] Ff + , Knt. i, Dyce, Del. ii, 
Sch. Hath Qq et cet. 

before] Ff + , Knt i f Sing. Dyce, 
Del. ii, Ktly, Huds. Sch. heretofore 
Qq et cet. 

68. heard him oft] Ff+, Cap. Knt, 
Dyce, Sta. Glo. + , Sch. often heard 
him Qq et cet. 

47. oldness] Schmidt : Not elsewhere used in Sh. 

48. idle and fond] Johnson : Weak and foolish. 

49. who] Wright : For which, the antecedent really being the persons implied 
in ' tyranny.' See Abbott, § 264. 

58. closet] Private apartment. See III, iii, 10, and also Ham. II, i, 77. 

59. character] It is almost needless to remark that this word is always used by 
Sh. in the sense of writing or handwriting. See Ham. I, iii, 59. 

ACT I, SC. iL] 



tain it to be fit, that, sons at perfefl age, and fathers de- 
clined, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son 70 
manage his revenue. 

Glou. O villain, villain ! His very opinion in the letter I 
Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain I 
worse than brutish ! — Go, sirrah, seek him ; I'll apprehend 
him ; abominable villain ! Where is he ? 75 

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please 
you to suspend your indignation against my brother till you 
can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you 
should run a certain course ; where, if you violently proceed • 
against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great 80 
gap in your own honour and shake in pieces the heart of 
his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him that he 
hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour and to no 
other pretence of danger. 

Glou. Think you so ? 85 

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you 
where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular 

69. af] being at Han. 
perfect] perfit Qq. 

declined] F,FF 4 , Rowe, Km, 
Coll. Del. Wh. Sen. deelind F.. de- 
clining Qq et cet 

70. the father] his father Qq. 

as ward] as a Ward Q 3 , Pope +• 

71. his] the Qq. 

73. Abhorred] Abhorrid Q,. 

73, 74. brutish] bruitijh O^F,, 
Rowe, Pope. 

74. sirrah] fir Qq. 

/yT)Rowe. JfrF f F 8 . ritt?f K . 
/Q f . /.Q,. ay, Cam. Wr. 

76. lord] L. F f F,. 

78. his] this Qq. 

79. should] Q,Ff (Jhold F f )+, Cap 
Jen. Ec Knt, Cam. Sen. Jhal Q,. JhaU 
Q 3 et cet. 

81. own] Om. TJFJFf Rowe, Pope, 

82. that] Om. Qq. 

83. writ] wrote Qq, Glo.+, Mob. 

84. other] further Qq, Glo. + , Mob. 
87. confer of this] confer this FJF^ 


auricular] aurigular Qq. 

69. sons at perfect age] For instances of the participle being implied, in the 
case of a simple word, such as being, see Abbott, § 381. 
79. where] For instances of the use of ' where ' for whereas, see Abbott, § 134. 

83. your honour] Malone : The usual address to a lord in Shakespeare's time. 

84. pretence] Johnson: That is, design, purpose. So afterwards, I, iv, 67. 
Steevens : I can venture to assert, with some degree of confidence, that Sh. never 
uses this word in any other sense. Schmidt {Lex.) gives five instances (of which 
one, viz : Cymb. Ill, iv, 106, is, I think, doubtful) where it means pretext. Dyce, 
in his Gloss., gives no other definition than Johnson's, and cites none of these five 
instances given by Schmidt. 

5 » 

50 KING LEAR [act I, SC. o. 

assurance have your satisfaction, and that without any fur- 
ther delay than this very evening. 

Glou. He cannot be such a monster — 90 

* Edm. Nor is not, sure. 

* Glou. To his father, that so tenderly and. entirely loves 

* him. Heaven and earth 1 * Edmund, seek him out , wind 
me into him, I pray you ; frame thfe business after your own 
wisdom. I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution. 95 

90. monster — ] Dyce, Del. ii, Huds. 94. him, I pray you : frame] Aim, 1 

Glo.+, Mob. monster. QqFf et cct. pray you frame Qq. 

91-93. Edm. Nor...eartk /] Qq. Om. the] your Qq. 
Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. Sch. 

9*f 93* Nor . . . earth] Schmidt (Zur Textkritii, &c, p. 18) makes a strong 
point in favour of omitting these words, as is done in the Ff. * Were there any 
reproach,' he says, 'against which it would be hard to defend Sh., it would be 
the relation between Gloster and Edgar. A father " that so tenderly and entirely 
loves " his son, but, like Gloucester, condemns him unheard, and drives him forth 
to misery, is a miscreant in the drama as well as in real life. ... If there be any "sin- 
gle trait which is characteristic of this scene, as well as of the similar first scene of 
the second Act, it is that not a word of sympathy and warmth for his sons falls from 
the lips of Gloucester. His levity, when talking with Kent in the very first scene 
of the play, sufficiently betrays the superficial sense of his marital and parental 
duties. Only when Edgar is as- though dead to him, and the fate of Lear begins to 
cast its dark shadow over himself (III, vi), does something of fatherly feeling 
awaken at the thought of his son, hunted through the land. Hitherto, he is indif- 
ferent and heartless. Evidently his sons have never stood near to his heart; he 
knows them not, — nor what might be expected from either the one or the other. 
That Edmund, before the time when the action of the play begins, has been " out " 
nine years in foreign parts is expressly mentioned, and in one way or another Edgar 
has been equally a stranger .... and is no more to him than Edmund, — " no dearer 
in my account," 1. e, is of as little account. He has sons and they must be acknow- 
ledged, and therein he lias done his part. Such and no other is the idea that Sh. 
would have us form of Gloucester, and therefore he could never have written the 
words : " To his father that so tenderly and entirely loves him." They stand in 
contradiction to all that precedes and follows. They are doubtless an addition made 
by some sensational actor, and they crept into the Qq through some copyist or re- 

93. wind me] Johnson : I once thought it should be read : * wind you / but, 
perhaps, it is a familiar phrase, like * do me this.' [For other instances of this eth- 
ical dative, see Abbott, § 220, or Macb. Ill, vi, 41.] 

95. unstate] Heath : That is, I would give even my rank and fortune to be 
resolved on this point. CapEll : The state that Gloster would lay aside, if he could, 
on this occasion is, his parental state, the state of father, which endangered his 
judging rightly, two ways — by acting upon his affections as a kind father, or on his 
resentments as an injured one. Johnson thus paraphrases : ' Do you frame the bus- 

' I 

ACTl.saii.] KING LEAR 5 1 

Edm. I will seek him, sir, presently, convey the business 96 
as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal. 

Glou. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend 
no good to us ; though the wisdom of nature can reason it 
thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the se- IOO 
quent effects; love cools, friendship falls off, brothers di- 
vide : in cities, mutinies ; in countries, discord ; in palaces, 

96. wiU]Jhall Qq. 99. it] Om. Qq. 

97. find] fee Qq, Jen. 100. sequent] frequent Theob. i. 
98, 134. eclipses] Elipfes F,. 102. discord] di/cords Qq, Jen. 

98. moon] the moon Cap. conj. in palaces] Pallaces 0,0.. 

99. nature] mankind Han. 

iness who can act with less emotion; I would nnstate myself; it would be in me a 
departure from the paternal character, to be in a due resolution, to be settled and com- 
posed on such an occasion.' Tyrwhitt : It means simply : ' I would give my estate ' 
(including rank as well as fortune). [There can be no doubt that Heath and Tyr- 
whitt give the correct interpretation.] 

95. resolution] Dyck (Gloss.) : Conviction, assurance/ 

96. convey] Johnson: To manage artfully. [See Macb. IV, iii, 71.] 

98. These late eclipses] Capbll: This descant upon what were then esteemed 
natural prodigies is a weakness which serves admirably to give a requisite degree of 
the probable to Gloucester's incredulity. Moberly : As to current belief in astrology, 
we may remember that, at the time when this play was written, Dr Dee, the cele- 
brated adept, was grieving for his lost patroness, Queen Elizabeth ; that the profligate 
court of James I. was in 1618 frightened by the appearance of a comet into a tern* 
porary fit of gravity; and that even Charles I. sent £500 as a fee to William Lilly 
for consulting the stars as to his flight from Hampton Court in 1647. [See Appendix, 
• Date of the Composition/ p. 379.] 

99. wisdom of nature] Johnson: Though natural philosophy can give account 
of eclipses, yet we feel their consequences. Walker ( Crit. i, 287) marked < nature ' 
as « possibly wrong.* Lettsom (in a foot-note to Walker) : I think man would be 
better [than mankind of Hanmer] ; but perhaps * nature • crept in from below with- 
out displacing any word ; the or y* was a mistake for y f and of was purposely in- 
serted to make some sense of 'the wisdom nature.' Sh. perhaps wrote merely 
'your wisdom," as 'your excellent sherris.' Keightley reads ' wisdom of man * 
in his text. [' Wisdom of nature • means : wisdom concerning nature, the know- 
ledge of natural laws. — Ed.] Moberly : This curious view is repeated, with re- 
markable force of language, by Sir T. Browne, even in» the less credulous times 
(Buckle, i, p. 336) when he wrote his Treatise on Vulgar Errors : « That two suns 
or moons should appear, is not worth the wonder. But that the same should fall out 
at the point of some decisive action, that these two should make but one line in the 
book of fate, and stand together in the great Ephemerides of God, besides the phil- 
osophical assignment of the cause, it may admit a Christian apprehension in the sig- 
nality • (i, 2). We learn also from Bishop Burnet that Lord Shaftesbury believed in 
astrology, and thought that the souls of men live in the stars. 


52 KING LEAR [act I, SC. iL 

treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son and father. This 
villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son 
against father; the king falls from bias of nature; there's 105 
father against child. We have seen the best of our time ; 
machinations, hollowness, treachery and all ruinous dis- 
orders follow us disquietly to our graves. Find out this 
villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully. 
And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished I his offence, 1 10 
honesty I Tis strahge. [£*#• 

Ednt. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that 

103. and the bond] the bond Qq. Ill* honesty] honeft Qq. 

* twixt] betweene Qq, Cap. Mai. 'Tis strange.] Jlrange Jtrange I 

Stecv. Bos. Coll. Sing. Wh. Ktly. Q f . Jlrange, Jlrange I Q,, Cap. Steev. 

103-108. This villain.. graves.] Om. Ec Var. Sing. 

Qq. [Exit.] Om. Qq. 

105. bias] byas F t F s . byasF n . biafs H2. Scene vin. Pope +, Jen. 


108. disquietly] Delius : This is used causatively. 

109. lose thee] Note the change to the more affectionate * thee.' See also IV, 
▼»> 3a— Ed. 

112. Wa&burton: In Shakespeare's best plays, besides the vices that arise from 
the subject, there is generally some peculiar prevailing folly, principally ridiculed, 
that runs through the whole piece. Thus, in The Tempest, the lying disposition of 
travellers, and in As You Like It, the fantastick humour of courtiers are exposed and 
satirized with infinite pleasantry. In like manner, in this play of Lear, the dotages 
of judicial astrology are severely ridiculed. I fancy, was the date of its first per- 
formance well considered, it would be found that something or other happened at 
that time which gave a more than ordinary run to this deceit, as these words seem to 
intimate : • I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should 
follow these eclipses.' However this be, an impious cheat, which had so little foun- 
dation in nature or reason, so detestable an original, and such fatal consequences on 
the manners of the people, who were at that time strangely besotted with it, cer- 
tainly deserved the severest lash of satire. It was a fundamental in this noble science, 
that whatever seeds of good dispositions the infant unborn might be endowed with, 
either from nature, or traductively from its parents, yet if, at the time of its birth, 
the delivery was by any casualty so accelerated or retarded as to fall in with the 
predominancy of a malignant constellation, that momentary influence would entirely 
change its nature, and bias it to all the contrary ill qualities. So wretched and mon- 
strous an opinion did it set out with. But the Italians, to whom we owe this, as 
well as most other unnatural crimes and follies of these latter ages, fomented its 
original impiety to the most detestable height of extravagance. Petrus Aponensis, 
an Italian physician- of the 13th century, assures us that those prayers which are 
made to God when .the moon is in conjunction with Jupiter in the Dragon's tail, are 
infallibly heard. . . . The great Milton, with a just indignation of this impiety, hath, in 
his Paradise Regained (Book IV, 383), satirized it in a very beautiful -manner, by 

ACT I, sc. ii.] KING LEAR 53 

when we are sick in fortune,— often the surfeit of our own 
behaviour, — we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the 
moon, and stars; as if we were villains on necessity, fools 11$ 

113. surfeit] Q,. furfet Q,. furfets the stars Qq et cet. Stams F 1 F t F . 
F t F a F s . furfeiis F., Rowe-f, Sch. 115. on] Ff+, Cap. Knt, Sch. by Qq 

115. stars] F 4 , Rowe+, Knt, Sch. et cet 

putting these reveries into the mouth of the devil. . . . Nor could the licentious Rabelais 
himself forbear to ridicule this impious dotage, which he does with exquisite address 
and humour, where in the fable which he so agreeably tells from iEsop of the man 
who applied to Jupiter for the loss of his hatchet, he makes those who, on the poor 
man's good success, had projected to trick Jupiter by the same petition, a kind of 
astrologic atheists, who ascribed this good fortune that they imagined they were now 
all going to partake of, to the influence of some rare conjunction and configuration 
of the stars. *Hen, hen, dirent ilz — Et doncques telle est au temps present la 
revolution des Cieulx, la constellation des Astres, et aspect des Planetes, que qui* 
conques coingnee perdra soubdain deuiendra ainsi riche?' — Nou. Pro/, du IV 
Livre. — But to return to Sh. So blasphemous a delusion, therefore, it became the 
honesty of our poet to expose. But it was a tender point, and required managing. 
For this impious juggle had in his time a kind of religious reverence paid to it It 
was therefore to be done obliquely; and the circumstances of the scene furnished 
him as good an opportunity as he could wish. The persons in the drama are all 
Pagans, so that as, in compliance to custom, his good characters were not to speak 
ill of judicial astrology, they could on account of their religion give no reputation 
to it But in order to .expos*- it the mnre^hewiih great judgement makes these 
Pagans fatalists, as appears by these words of Lear, « By all the operations of the 
orbs, From whom we do exist and cease to be/ For the doctrine of fate is the true 
foundation of judicial astrology. Having thus discredited it by the very commen- 
dations given to it, he was in no danger of having his direct satire against it mis- 
taken, by its being put (as he was obliged, both in paying regard to custom and in 
following nature) into the mouth of the villain and atheist, especially when he has 
added such force of reason to his ridicule, in the words referred to in the beginning 
of the note. Coleridge: Thus scorn and misanthropy are often the anticipations 
and mouthpieces of wisdom in the detection of superstitions. Both individuals and 
nations may be free from such prejudices by being below them, as well as by rising 
above them. 

112. foppery] See note on 'fops/ line 14. 

113. surfeit] Collier: Is there not room to suspect that Sh. may have written 
forfeit — 1. e. the penalty of our own misconduct Schmidt (Zur Textkritik, &c.» 
p. 19) follows the plural of the Ff, and thinks that only a blind prejudice in favour 
of the Qq can give preference to the singular. In his ed. Schmidt refers to the 
similar passage in Rich, II; II, ii, 84, ' Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit 

Z15. stars] I prefer the reading of the Ff, because particular stars are referred 
to, not * the stars ' in general. — Ed. 

115. on necessity] Schmidt (Zur TextiritiJt, &c, p. 19) : Usage is in favour 
of by, but 'on' is Shakespearian* ' On necessity* occurs twice in close succession 
in Love's Lab. L. I, i, 149, 155 ; 'by necessity ' is found nowhere else in Sh. He 




[act I. SC. ii. 

by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers, by 1 16 
spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by 
an enforced obedience of planetary influence , and all that 
we are evil in, by a divine thrusting oa An admirable 
evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish dispo- 120 
sition to the charge of a star! My father compounded 
with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity 
was under Ursa major ; so that it follows 1 am rough and 
lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am, had the 
maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastard- 125 
izing. Edgar — 

116. treachers] trecherersQ<{. treach* 
erous Pope 4 . trechers Cap. 

117. spherical] SphericallF t . Spharu 
callF 9 . fpirituall Qq. 

120, 121. lay..Mar]lryhisgotishdif 
pofion to the charg ofhars Q . 

disposition to"] difpofitton on Ff + , 
Knt, Del. Sta. Sch* 

121. charge] change Warb. 

a star] ftars Q^ Cap. Jen. ColL L 
Starres Q f . 

124. lecherous] treacherous Theob. 
conj. (withdrawn). 

7W]Jen. A/Qq. Om.Ff+, 
Cap. Knt, Sch. 

that] what Pope + 

125. maidenliest] matdenleft QqF t F, 
in] of Qq. 

bastardizing] baftardy Qq 

126, 127. Edgar— ...And pat] Jen. 
(sabs.) Edgar, Enter Edgar. 6* out 
Q, Edgar; and out (Enter Edgar, in 
margin) Q^. Enter Edgar. Pat: Ff+, 
Knt, Del. Dyce i. Sch. Enter Edgar, 
Edgar I Pat; Cap. Edgar— Enter Ed- 
gar. A//— Steer '73. Edgar! pat 

Enter...] After Bedlam, line 129, 
Dyce ii, Sta. Huds. 

126-129. Edgar — ..divisions f] As 
•Aside* by Cap. 

126. Scene DC. Pope+ 

has an unmistakable preference for the prepositions ' on ' and ' upon ' to express that 
which gives the motive or impulse to anything. Thus, in the following examples, 
where in popular speech other prepositions would be used: R. o/L. f 186, ' he doth 
debate What following sorrow, may on this arise. 9 Meas.for Me as. IV, i, 72 : « hus- 
band on a pre-contract.' King John t V, i, 28 : * it should be on constraint.' Rich. 
II • I, i, 9 : 'If he appeal the duke on ancient malice, or ... on some known ground 
of treachery.' Rich. Ill: IV, i, 4; Ham. V, ii, 406 [Glo. ed.] ; Ant. 6* CUop. Ill, 
xi, 68; Mer. of Ven. IV, i, 104: I Hen. IV: II, iv, 331. 

116. treachers] Dyce {Gloss. )\ Traitors. 

118. influence] Schmidt: Used by Sh. only in the sense of planetary influence. 

121. to the charge] Schmidt adheres to the Ff, although, as he .confesses, <on 
the charge ' is contrary not only to present usage, but also to Shakespearian. • * But 
this is no reason why we should prefer " to" of the Qq. " To lay something on one " 
is a very common expression in Sh., and we have in the present passage a confusion 
of construction which is not unusual. In Mer. of Ven. Ill, iv, 66 : " I'll speak be- 
tween the change of man and boy" — 1. e. as if I were between man and boy.' 

124. Tut] Dyce: Put of the Qq seems to be a misprint for 'Tut,' rather than 
intended for Foot or 'Sfoot. 

ACT I, sc. ii.] KING LEAR 55 

Enter Edgar. 

And pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old comedy. 127 
My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o* 
Bedlam. Oh, these eclipses do portend these divisions ! fa, 
sol, la, mi. 1 30 

Edg. How, now, brother Edmund I what serious con- 
templation are you in? 

Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this 
other day, what should follow these eclipses. 

128. My cue] mine Qq. 129, 130. fa,...mi.] Fa,— Sol, La, Me. 
sigh] fighe F f . fUh Q,. Ff. Om. Qq. 

Tom o 9 ] them of Qq. z jo. [Humming. Han. 

129. do portend] portend Pope+ . 

127. catastrophe] Heath : That is, just as the circumstance which decides the 
catastrophe of a play intervenes on the very nick of time, when the action is wound 
op to its crisis, and the audience are impatiently expecting it 

128. cue] Bolton Corney (N. & Qu.$ Aug. 1865) cites the following dennt* 
tion of this word from Butler's English Grammar, 1634: «Q. A note of entrance 
for actors, because it is the first letter of fuando— when, shewing when to enter and 
speak. 9 Wedgwood adopts this definition, but also cites Minsheu: * A qu, a term 
used among stage-players, a Lat qualis L e. at what manner of word the actors are 
to begin to speak, one after another has done his speech.' The Fr. term is repliant* 
Weight apparently derives it from Fr. queue, a tail. 

129. fa, sol, la, mi] Dr Buenet s Sh. shows by the context that he was well 
acquainted with the property of these syllables in solmization, which imply a series* 
of sounds so unnatural that ancient musicians prohibited their use. The monkish 
writers on music say: mi contra fa estdiabolus: the interval fa mi, including a 
tritonus, or sharp 4th, consisting of three tones without the intervention of a semi* 
tone, expressed in the modern scale by the letters foab, would form a musical 
phrase extremely disagreeable to the ear. Edmund, speaking of eclipses as portents 
and prodigies, compares the dislocation of events, the times being out of joint, to 
the unnatural and offensive sounds, * fa sol la mi.' White : According to modem. 
Italian solmization, fa sol la si; i. e, a progression through the interval of a fourth, 
ending upon the seventh or leading note of the scale; which, unless followed by the 
tonic, or used for some very special effect, is a most distracting figure, based upon 
the most poignant of discords. In Shakespeare's time, and until a comparatively 
recent date, the syllables for solmization, instead of do re mi fa sol la si, were fa sol 
la fa sol la mi, Sh. often shows that he was a musician as well as a lover of music. 
Weight: For Dr Burney's note, Mr Chappell assures me, there is not the slightest 
foundation. Edmund is merely singing to himself in order not to seem to observe 
Edgar's approach. [Just as Mistress Quickly sings « And down, down, adown-a' in 
Merry Wives, I, iii, 44, when Doctor Caius is approaching. — Ed.] Moberly : The 
true explanation probably is that the sequence * fa sol la mi ' (with ' mi ' descending) 
is like a deep sigh, as may be easily heard by trial. 



56 KING LEAR [act 1, sc. iL 

Edg. Do you busy yourself with that? 135 

Edtn. I promise you, the effefls he writes of succeed 
,/ . I unhappily ; * as of unn aturalnes s between the child and the 

1 i *" * J * parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; di- 

* visions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and 

* nobles ; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissi- 140 

* pation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what 

* Edg. How long have you been a seflary astronomical ? 

* Edtn. Come, come,* when saw you my father last? 

Edg. The night gone by. 

Edtn. Spake you with him ? 145 

Edg. Ay, two hours together 

Edm. Parted you in good terms ? Found you no dis- 
pleasure in him by word nor countenance ? 

Edg. None at all. 

Edm. Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended 150 
him; and at my entreaty forbear his presence until some 

135. xwM] *<WQqJen.Glo+,Mob. Sta. Wh. Huds. Sch. Why the Q,. 

136. you] Om. F,F S F 4 . Why, the Q f et cet. 
writes"} writ Qq, Jen. Cam. Wr. 146. Ay t ] /, Ff. Om. Qq. 

137-143. as of. ..Come, come/I Om. 148. nor] Ff, Rowe, Dyce, Sta. Sch* 

Ff + , Cap. or Qq et cet. 

138. amities'] Q,. armies Q,. 150. may] Om. F 3 F 4 +. 

141. cohorts] courts Johns. Steev. '73, 151. until] Ff+, Jen. Ec. Sta. Sch. 

Coll. iii. comforts Jen. till Qq et cet 

144. The] Ff + , Cap. Knt, Coll. Dyce, 

^ >^ ^ * 

136. Johnson : In this speech Edmund, with the common craft of fortune-tellers, 
mingles the past and future, and tells of the future only what he already foreknows 
by confederacy, or can attain by probable conjecture. 

136. succeed] Wright : In Elizabethan English the ' success ' of an action was 
the issue or consequence, good or bad. Hence the word was used with a qualifying 
adjective. See Joshua, i, 8 : ' Then thou shalt have good success.' 

137-143. As an additional proof of the spuriousness of these lines Schmidt says 
that there are found in them no less than six hapax legomena, that is, words nowhere 
else to be found in Sh. — 4. g. ' unnaturalness,* \ menace ' (as a noun), ' malediction/ 
* dissipation,' • cohort,' and ' astronomical.' 

140. diffidences] Wright : This now means distrust of one's self. Here it sig- 
nifies distrust of others. Compare King John % I, i, 65. 

141. cohorts] Johnson, by a misprint in his foot-note, says, that the Quarto reads 
lourts. Moberly : As neither of these words, « dissipation of cohorts,' are \sic % 
the effect of a constant study of Sh. ? — Ed.] elsewhere used by Sh., we may sus- 
pect corruption. Perhaps the original may have been disproportion of thoughts^ 
that is, * unnatural thoughts,' as m Oth. Ill, iii. Schmidt : This cannot be ex* 
plained by anything in Sh. 

ACT I, SC. ii.] 



little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure, which 1 52 
at this instant so rageth in him that with the mischief of 
your person it would scarcely allay. 

Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong. 155 

Edm. That's my fear. I_pray-you, have a continent 
forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower and, as I 
say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly 
bring you to hear my lord speak ; pray ye, go ; there's my 
key; if you do stir abroad, go armed. 1 60 

Edg. Armed, brother ? 

Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed; I 
am no honest man if there be any good meaning toward 
you. I have told you what I have seen and heard; but 
faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it; pray you, 165 

Edg, Shall I hear from you anon ? 

Edm. I do serve you in this business.— [Exit Edgar. 
A credulous father, and a brother noble, 

Whose nature is so far from doing harms 170 

That he suspe&s none ; on whose foolish honesty 
My pra&ices ride easy. I see the business. 

153. with] without Han. Cap. 

154. person] par/on Q f . 
scarcely] fcarce Q f . fcarfe Q^. 

156-162. fear...Brother,]feare broth* 


156, 162. /...Edm.] Om. Qq. 

159. pray ye] Ff, Dyce ii, Sta. Glo.+, 
Mob. Huds. Sch. pray you Rowe et 

160, 161. armed] arm'd Ff +, Cap. 
Jen. Steev. Mai. Ec. Sing. Wh. Ktly, 

162. go armed] Om. Ff+, Knt, Coll. 
Del. Dyce, Wh. Ktly, Sch. 

163. toward] Ff+, Jen. Knt, Dyce, 
Sta. Coll. iii, Sch. towards Qq. et cet. 

164, 165. heard; but faintly?] Glo. + , 
Mob. heard \ but faintly ', Qq. heard but 
faintly, Dyce. heard: But faintly. Ff. 
heard; but faintly; Rowe* heard, but 
faintly; Pope et cet. 

165. it;] it, Ff. 

168. Scene x. Pope, Han. Warb. 
Johns. Jen. 

I do] I Pope Han. 
[Exit Edgar.] After line 167, 
QJFT, Rowe, Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

153. with the mischief] Capell (reading without) : For what has Edgar to 
apprehend beyond m • harm of his person ' ? — yet < with ' implies a harm beyond that, 
which is not of easy conception. Johnson: I believe the phrase should be 'that 
but with the,' &c. 

168. I do] Heath : If we read ril, it will be an answer to the question Edgar 
asks just before his leaving the stage. 

172. practices] Dyce (Gloss.): Contrivance, artifice, stratagem, treachery, con- 



[act i, sc. ill 

Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit; 
All with me's meet that I can fashion fit 



Scene III. The Duke of Albany s palace. 

/inter Goneril and Oswald, her steward. 

Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of 
his Fool? 

Osw. Ay, madam. 

Gon. By day and night he wrongs me , every hour 
He flashes into one gross crime or other, 
That sets us all at odds. Ill not endure it 
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us 
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting, 
I will not speak with him ; say I am sick. 
If you come slack of former services, 
You shall do well ; the fault of it I'll answer. 

Osw. He's coming, madam ; I hear him. 

Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please, 



174. All with me's] A IPs with me 
Cap. conj. 

Scene hi.] Scena Tertia. Ff (Scaena 
F 9 ). Scene ii. Rowe, Ec. Scene xi. 
Pope +, Jen. 

The...] Rowe. A room in the... 

Oswald, her Steward] Coll. Gentle- 
man. Q t . a Gentleman. Q a . Steward. Ff. 

3, &c. Osw.] Coll. Gent. Qq. Ste. 
or Stew. Ff. 

3. Ay] Rowe. /Ff. Yes Qq, Jen. 

Glo.+, Mob. 

4. night] night, Ff, Rowe, Theob. 
Warb. Johns. Dyce. night I Cap. Steev. 

me;] me,QqF t F 9 . 

4, 5. every... other,] One line, Qq. 

7. upbraids] obraydsQ x . upradidsQ.. 

8. trifle. fVhen] trifle when Qq (tru 


12. [Horns within. Cap. 

13-16. Put,] Prose, Qq. 

I. of] For instances of 'of following verbal nouns, see ABBOTTyS 178. 

3. Oswald] Coleridge: The steward should be placed in exact antithesis to 
Kent, as the only character of utter irredeemable baseness in Sh. Even in this, the 
judgement and invention of the poet are very observable ; — for what else could the 
willing tool of a Goneril be ? Not a vice but this of baseness was left open to him. 

4. By day and night] M alone cites Ham. I, v, 164: <0 day and night, but 
this is wondrous strange V in support of the exclamation-mark introduced by Capell ; 
but Whalley and Steevens rightly interpret these words in their ordinary sense, 
signifying always, everyway, as appears, says Wright, from 'every hour* which 

13. weary] As You Like It (Gent. Mag. Ix, p. 402) : It is extremely probable 
that Sh. wrote 'wary negligence.' 

ACT I, SC. iii.] 



You and your fellows ; I'd have it come to question. 

If he distaste it, let him to my sister, 

Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one, 

* Not to be over-ruled Idle old man, 

* That still would manage those authorities 

* That he hath given away ! Now, by my life, 

* Old fools are babes again, and must be used 

* With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abused.* 



14. fellows] fellow f truants Q t . feU 
towferuants Q,. 

rd] foe F t F r VdiQf IdeQf 
to] in Qq. 

15. distaste] diflike Qq, Cap. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Glo. Mob. 

my] our Qq, Glo. +, Mob. 
17-21. Not to be.. Abused.] Verse first 
by Theob. Om. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 

20. fools] folks Warb. Jen. 

21. checks. ..abused] Qq. checks ; like 
flatfrers johen the? re seen /' abuse us 
Theob. checks, as flatteries when the? re 
seen abused Johns. Ec. checks, not flat* 

teries when they are seen abused Cap. 
checks, by flatteries when the?re seen 
abused Jen. checks, as flatteries, — when 
they are seen abused Mai. Steev. Bos. 
Knt, Del. Sing, checks: as flatteries, 
when they are seen, abused Coll. Wh. 
checks as flatteries, — when they are 
[the? re Dyce ii, Hads.] seen abused 
Dyce, Sta. Glo. Huds. cheeks; as flat* 
teries, when they are seen, are abused 
Ktly. checks, when flatteries are seen 
abused Sch. conj. checks of flatteries 
when the? re seen abused Badham.* 

15. let him to] For instances of the omission of the verb of motion see Abbott, 
§§30, 405, and I, i, 283 ; also Ham. I, i. 26 and III, iii, 4. 

17-21. That these lines, which are printed as prose in the Qq, may be easily 
arranged metrically is a warrant, says Schmidt, of their correctness. 

17. Idle] Schmidt (Lex,) : Wanting becoming seriousness and gravity, thought* 
less, silly, absurd, foolish. 

20, 21. Old . . • abused] Theobald (Nichols's Lit. Hist, ii, 371) suggests abuses, 
but did not repeat the suggestion in his ed. Warburton: Common sense tells 
us Sh. must have wrote : * Old Folks are • • • With checks, not flat fries when • • • 
abus'd' — t . *., old folks being grown children again, they should" be used as we 
use children, with 'checks' when we find the little 'flatteries' we employ to quiet 
them are 'abus'd' by their becoming more peevish by indulgence. Johnson: 
Old men must be treated with checks, when as they are seen to be deceived with 
flatteries; or, when they are once weak enough to be seen abused by flatteries, they 
are then weak enough to be used with checks. There is a play of the words used and 
abused. To abuse is, in our author, very frequently the same as to deceive. This 
construction is harsh and ungrammatical; Sh* perhaps thought it vicious, and chose 
to throw away the lines rather than correct them, nor would now thank the officious- 
ness of his editors, who restore what they do not understand. Tyrwhitt: Old 
fools — must be used with checks, as well as flatteries, when they (1. *. flatteries) ar* 
seen to be abused. Dyce (Remarks, &c, p. 222) : 'As' meaning as well as. Hal* 
L1WELL : The rest of the .line, after the word ' checks/ loses its reference to the child, 
and merely alludes to the old man as king used to be flattered, which flatteries, being 
felt by him. are abused. I have very little doubt, however, but that here there is 



[ACT I. SC. to* 

Remember what I have said 
Osw. Well, madahi. 22 

&w. And let his knights have colder looks among you ; 

What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so. 

* I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, 25 

* That I may speak.* I'll write straight to my sister, 

To hold my very course. Prepare for dinner. [Exeunt 

Scene IV. A hall in the same. 

Enter Kent, disguised. 

Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, 
That can thy speech defuse, my good intent 

22. have said] tell you Qq, Jen. Glo. + , 
Mob. have said to you Ktly. 

Well) Ff, Rowe, Pope, Knt, ColL 
Del. Sing. Dyce i, Sta. Wh. Ktly, Glo. 
Mob. Sch. Very well Qq et cet. 

23, 24. And let...Jo.] As in Cap. 
Verse first by Han. Prose, QqFf+, 
Jen. Knt. 

24. ddvise] and advise Han., ending 
the line with advise, 

25, 26. / would.. speak.] As in Cap. 
Prose, Qq. Om. Ff +, Jen. Knt. 

26, 27. 7*11... dinner.] As in Han. 
Prose, QqFf. 

27. very] Qq. Om. Ff + , Knt, Coll. i, 
Del. Sing. Dyce i, Sta. Wh. Ktly, Sch. 

Prepare] goe prepare Qq, Jen. 
Go and prepare Han. 

27. dinner] dinner now Ktly. 
[Exeunt.] Exit. Qq. 

Scene iv.] Scena Quarta. Ff (Scsena 
F 9 ). Om.Qq,Rowe. Scene xn. Pope, 
Han. Scene hi. Ec. 

A hall in the same.] MaL An 
outer Hall in the same. Cap. An open 
Place before the Palace. Theob. 

Enter Kent, disguised.] Rowe. Enter 
Kent. QqFf.. 

1-7. Prose, Qq. 

1. well] will F f . 

2. That.. defuse] QqFf, Glo. +,Mob. 
Sch. And.. disuse Rowe, Pope, Johns. 
And...diffuse Theob. Han. Warb. That 
...deface Cap. That...diffuse Jen. et cet. 

That. ..disguise Jen. conj. That...defea 

either an omission or a gross corruption. Moberly : ' When they are seen abused ' 
■» when they are so plainly misguided. If ' checks as flatteries' is the right reading, 
the meaning must be ' checks as well as flatteries.' But may not Sh. have written 
•with checks as flatty /— 1. e. 'as decidedly as we restrain children.' This would 
easily corrupt into « flattery.* 

23-27. Knight: This speech has been arranged metrically; but so regulated, it 
reads very harshly. 

24. Moberly : The vixenish tone of Goneril makes the line defy scanning. 

25, 26. Schmidt says these lines were struck out in the Ff because they merely 
repeat the idea contained in line 14 ; but that they are Shakespeare's is clear from 
the metre, notwithstanding that the Qq print them as prose. 

2. defuse] Theobald was the first to restore * defuse,' but he spelled it diffuse^ 
and it is not clear from his note that he had a correct notion of its meaning. He] KING LEAR 6l 

May cany through itself to that full issue 

For which I razed my likeness. Now, banish'd Kent, 

If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd, 5 

So may it come, thy master, whom thou lovest. 

Shall find thee full of labours. 

Horns within* Enter Lear, Knights, and Attendants. 

Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go get it ready. — 
[Exit an Attendant^ How now ! what art thou ? 
Kent. A man, sir. 10 

4. razed] rastd Q f . raizd Q,. raised Horns within.] Om. Qq. 

FjF,. raised FJF A . Knights, and Attendants.] Rowc. 

Now] Om. Pope, Han. and Attendants. Ff. Om. Qq. Gentle* 

6. So. ..come,] Om. Qq. man, Knights, and Attendants. Cap. 
come, thy] com*, Thy Johns, cornel 9. Exit an Attendant.] Mai. To an 

thy Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. Del. Wh. Attendant, who goes out. Cap. Om. 

fctly, Huds. come thy Knt. QqF£ 

7. thee full] the full Qq. [To Kent Theob. Warb. Johns. 
labours] labour Qq. 

apparently thinks that Kent will disguise his speech by diffusing — 1. *. by spreading 
it out. Hanmer adopted Theobald's spelling, and gives the true definition : ' to 
disguise.' This interpretation and spelling make CapeA indignant, and he urges 
his emendation deface, thus : • If I can but deface my speech by a strange accent as 
effectually as I have defac'd my person by a strange attire, then my good intent may 
do so and so : now for this deface and defac'd substitute diffuse and diffused, and see 
how you like it; and if diffuse would have suited in this respect, it had not been 
given to Kent, whose language is more natural.' Steevens : We must suppose that 
Kent advances looking on his disguise. To diffuse speech signifies to disorder it, 
and so to disguise it. It may, however, mean to speak broad with a clownish accent. 
Dyce (Rem. 223) cites *Dyffuse harde to be vnderstande, diffuse* — Palsgrave's 
Lesclar. de la Lang. Er. t 1 530. * But oft by it [logick] a thing playne, bright and 
pure, Is made diffuse, vfrtniowen, harde, and obscure.' — Barclay's Ship of Fooles, ed. 
1570. ' Kent does not wish to render his speech difficult to be understood, but merely 
to disorder it, to disguise it, as he had disguised his person.' Wright cites instances 
of the use of 'defuse' from Lyty*s Euphues (ed. Arber), p. 64; and Armin's Nest of 
Ninnies, p. 6 (Shaksp. Soc. ed.). For other instances from Sh., see Concordance 
or Schmidt's Lex. 

6. So • • • come,] To Capell this appeared to be a wish and parenthetical. 

7. labours] Capell : His master will find him ready for any hard services, and 
any number of them. Walker (Grit, i, 255) : Perhaps labour of the Qq is right. 

7. Lear] Coleridge : In Lear old age is itself a character, — its natural imper- 
fections being increased by lifelong habits of receiving a prompt obedience. Any 
addition of individuality would have Seen unnecessary and painful ; for the relations 
of others to him, of wondrous fidelity and of frightful ingratitude, alone sufficiently 
distinguish him. Thus Lear becomes the open and ample play-room of nature's 

62 KING LEAR [act I, sc to. 

Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou II 
with us? 

Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem ; to serve 
him truly that will put me in trust ; to love him that is hon- 
est ; to converse with him that is wise and says little ; to fear 1 5 
judgement; to fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish. 

Lear. What art thou ? 

Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the 

Lear. If thou be'st as poor for a subject as he's for a 20 
king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou? 

Kent. Service. 

Lear. Who wouldst thou serve ? 

Kent. You. 

Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow ? 25 

15. and say s\ to say Warb. Han. and 20. he's] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Knt, Dyce 

say Steev. '85. i, Sen. he is Qq ct cct. 

17. art} art F t . 21. thou art] thar't Q t . 

20. Msf\ Ff (beft F t )+. Knt, Dyce i f 23. Who] Whom FJF % F 4 + 9 Cap. Jen. 

Sta. Sch. be Qq et Cet. • Ec Coll. Del. Wh. 

IX, 13. profess] Delius: Lear uses this in the sense of trade or calling. Kent 
replies in the sense of assertion. 

15. converse] Johnson: This signifies immediately and properly to keep com* 
pany % not to discourse or talk. 

16. judgement] Capell thinks this refers simply to coming before a judge; 
Eccles and Moberly that it refers to the last Judgement. 

16. eat no fish.] Warburton: In Queen Elizabeth's time the Papists were 
esteemed, and with good reason, enemies to the government Hence the proverbial 
phrase of, ' He's an honest man, and eats no fish/ to signify he's a friend to the 
government and a Protestant. The eating fish, on a religious account, being then 
esteemed such a badge of popery, that when it was enjoined for a season by act of 
parliament, for the encouragement of the fish-towns, it was thought necessary to 
declare the reason; hence it was called ' Cecil's fast.' To this disgraceful badge 
of popery Fletcher alludes in his Woman-Hater [IV, ii], who makes the courtezan 
say, when Lazarillo, in search of the umbrana's head, was seized at her house by the 
intelligencers for a traitor : * Gentlemen, I am glad you have discovered him ; he 
should not have eaten under my roof for twenty pounds ; and surely I did not like 
him when he called for fish. 9 And Marston's Dutch Courtezan [I, ii] : * I trust I 
am none of the wicked that eate fish a Fridaies.' [Dyce, in his ed. of the Woman- 
Hater, cites this note by Warburton, and adds : ' Perhaps Warburton is right.'] 
Capell thinks that this means simply that Kent was a jolly fellow, and no lover 
of such meagre diet as fish. 

2^, Who] For other instances of * who ' for whom, see Abbott, § 274. 

ACT I, SC. IV.] 



Kent. No, sir ; but you have that 111 your countenance 26 
which I would fain call master. 

Lear. What's that? 

Kent. Authority. 

Lear. What services canst thou do ? 30 

Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curi- 
ous tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly ; 
that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in, and 
the best of me is diligence. 

Lear. How old art thou ? 35 

Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, 
nor so old to dote on her for any thing ; I have years on my 
back forty-eight 

Lear. Follow me ; thou shalt serve me ; if I like thee no 
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet — Dinner, 40 
ho, dinner ! Where's my knave ? my Fool ? — Go you, and 
call my Fool hither. — \Exit an Attendant. 

Enter Oswald, 

You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter ?, 
Osw. So please you, — 

30. thou] Om. Q x . 

31. counsel] counfaile QqF s . coun- 
failes F t . counfels F S F 4 + . 

34. is diligence] w,- -diligence Sta. 
36. sir] Om. Qq. 

singing] sighing Anon.* 
39. thou] that F t . 

39, 40. me; if.. .dinner ', f] me, if... 
dinner, I QqFf. me, if ..dinner. /Jen. 
Ec. Sta. me, if. ..dinner; Sing. 

40, 6l. from...dinner /] from thee. 
Yet no dinner hot dinner — Han. 


42. hither] hether Qq. 

[To an Attendant. Cap. 

[Exit...] Dyce. 

Enter Oswald] As in Cap. En- 
ter Steward (after daughter 7) QqFf +. 
Enter Steward (after Fool?) Johns. Jen, 

43. You, you,] You you F 1 F - . you 

44. Osw.] Coll. Steward. Qq. Ste. 
or Stew. Ff. 

you,—]you—QJ?f. you,Q^ 
[Exit.] Om. Qq. 

31. curious] Schmidt: Elegant, nice. Wright: Elaborate. 

34. diligence] Particularly, says Schmidt, applied to menial services. Compare 
Tarn, of Sh. 9 IncL i, 70. Prospero calls Ariel ' my diligence ' because he has so 
tealously carried .out his commands. 

36. so • . • to] See II, iv, II, 12; Ham. V, ii, 16; Macb. II, iii, 47; III, i, 87; 
and Abbott, § 281. 

42. Da vies (Dram. Misc. ii, 176) gives what was the stage business in his time: 
4 He [Oswald] generally enters the stage in a careless, disengaged manner, hum- 
ming a tune, as if on purpose to give umbrage to the king by his neglect of him.' 



[act i, sc. to. 

Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll 45 
back. — [Exit a Knight.] Where's my Fool, ho ? I think 
the world's asleep. — [Re-enter Knight.] How now ! where's 
that mongrel ? 

Knight He says, my lord, your daughter is not well. 

Lear. Why came not the slave back to me when I called 50 

Knight. Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, 
he would not 

Lear. He would not ! 

JCnight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, 55 
to my judgement, your highness is not entertained with that 
ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great 
abatement of kindness appears as well in the general de- 
pendants as in the duke himself also and your daughter. 

Lear. Ha ! sayest thou so ? 60 

Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be 
mistaken ; for my duty cannot be silent when I think your 
highness wronged. 

Lear. Thou but rememberest me of mine own concep- 
tion. I have perceived a most faint ncgleft of late ; which 65 

45. */*#*//] Stee v. G/iV;W/Ff+,Cap. 
Jen. Mai. Ec. clat-folt Qq. clodpoll 
Johns. Dyce. 

46. [Exita Knight] Dyce. Om.QqFf. 
Fccly ho ?]foole, ho Q,. foole t ho % 

Q,. Foole t Ho, Ff, Cap. jbolt Ho! 
Rowe, Jen. foot? Hot Pope, Han. 

47. [Re-enter Knight] Dyce. Om. 

49. Knight] Knigh. F S F,F 3 . Kent 

49. daughter] Daughters F t F t . 
52, 55. 61. Knight.] Seruant Qq. 
52. me] Om. F 3 F^ Rowe, Pope, Han* 
54. He] A Q x . 
58. of kindness] Om. Qq. 

dependants] dependanee Walker 
(Crit iii f 277). 

63. wronged] is wrong 9 d QJFJ? 4 +b 
Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec Var. Sing. Ktly. 

64. mine] my F 3 F 4 +, Jen. 

56. that ... as] See I, i, 95, and Abbott, $ 28a 

$8. appears] For the omission of the relative, see Abbott, § 244. 

64. conception] Always used by Sh., says Schmidt, in a bad sense, especially 
of suspicions or jealous thoughts. 

65. faint] Schmidt says this does not mean ' slight,' as Wright interprets it, but 
« dull,' • languid,' « cold,' « without seal,' and refers to Mid. N. D.; « A barren sister, 
chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon;' and to 'faint deeds' in Timcn, 
which means indifferent, mechanical actions, devoid of thought [Despite the au- 
thority, almost without a rival, which Schmidt wields in a question concerning 
Shakespeare's use of words, I cannot but think that he is in error here, and makes 

ACT I, SC. iv.] 



I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than as 66 
a very pretence and purpose of unkindness. I will look 
further into't But where's my Fool? I have not seen 
him this two days. 

Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, JO 
the Fool hath much pined away. 

Lear. No more of that ; I have noted it well. — Go you, 
and tell my daughter I would speak with her. — Go you, call 
hither my Fool. — [Re-enter Oswald.] O, you sir, you, come 
you hither, sir. Who am I, sir ? 75 

Osw. My lady's father. 

Lear. * My lady's father?' my lord's knave. You whore- 
son dog ! you slave ! you cur 1 

66. mine own] my awn F 4 +, Jen. 

67. purpose] purport Qq. 

68. into't] into it Qj intoo't F g . 
my] this Qq. 

69. this] these Pope+, Jen. Ec. 

70. Knight] Servant Qq. 

72. welt] Om. Qq, Cap. 

[To one Attendant Cap. Ec. 

73. [Exit an Attendant Dyce* 

74. [to Another. Cap. 
[Exit an attendant Dyce. 

74. Re-enter Oswald.] As in Johns, 
(subs.) Re-enter Steward, brought back 
by an Attendant, [after O, line 74] Caj>. 
Enter Steward, [after sirt line 75] Ff, 
Rowe, Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Om, 

74, 75. you, eome..Mr] you Jir 9 come 
you hither Qq, Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec 
Var. Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. Ktly. come 
..Mr F^-K 

Lear say the very opposite to what Sn. intended. At this stage of the play Lear 
is not the man to stand ' most cold neglect/ as we see by his instantaneous wrath 
at Oswald a few lines further on.— Ed.] 

66. jealous curiosity] Steevens : A punctilious jealousy, resulting from a sent* 
pulous watdbfulness of his own dignity. 

67. pretence] Steevens : Design, See 1, ii, 84. Hudson : The passage is rather 
curious, as discovering a sort of double consciousness in the old king. 

69. this two days] Wright: In such cases Sh. uses indifferently 'this* and 
♦these.' See Wint. Tale t V, ii, 147, Per. y, i, 24. 

70. into] Schmidt: Very commonly used by Sh. before the names of countries: 
' to go into England,' ' into Flanders,' ' into Mauritania. 9 

71. Hudson: This aptly touches the key-note of the Fool's character. Cole- 
ridge: The Fool is no comic buffoon to make the groundlings laugh, — no forced, 
condescension of Shakespeare's genius to the taste of his audience. Accordingly, 
the poet prepares for his introduction, which he never does with any of his common 
clowns and fools, by bringing him into living connection with the pathos of the play. 
He is as wonderful a creation as Caliban ; — his wild babblings and inspired idiocy 
articulate and gauge the horrors of the scene. 

73. Go you, call] Schmidt follows the QqFf in omitting the comma here, be* 
cause the infinitive very commonly omits to in construction with go. 
6* E 



[act h sc. iv 

I am none of these, my lord; I beseech your 

Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal ? 

I'll not be strucken, my lord 

Nor tripped neither, you base foot-ball player I 

I thank thee, fellow ; thou servest me, and I'll love 

pardon. 80 




thee. 85 

Kent. Come, sir, arise, away ! I'll teach you differences : 
away, away ! If you will measure your lubber's length again, 
tarry; but away I go to; have you wisdom? so. 

Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee. There's 
earnest of thy service. 90 

£nter Foou 

Fool. Let me hire him too. — Here's my coxcomb. 

79, 80. /am.. .pardon.] Two lines, Ff. 

79. these] this Qq, Cap. Mai. Steev. 
Bos. Sing. Ktly. 

79, 80. your pardon] you pardon me 
Qq, Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Sing. 

81. [Striking him. Rowe. 

82. strucken] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Wh. 
Sch. ftruckeQ^. ft ruck Q t ct cet 

[in Posture of defending himself. 
.83. player f] player t Han. 

[Tripping up his heels. Rowe. 
84, 85. /...thee.] Two lines, Ff, Rowe. 
86. arise, away] Om. Qq. 

88. tarry] tarry again Theob. ii, 
Warb. Johns. 

go to] Om Qq, 

have you wisdom t so.] Theob. 
haue you wi/edome % fo. Ff, Rowe. Pope, 
Sch. you haue wifedome. Qq. 

[Pushes the Steward out Theob. 

89. my] Om. Qq. 
there's] their** Q f . 

90. [Giving money. Johns. 

91. Scene xiii. Pope, Han. Warb. 
Johns. Jen. 

[Giving his cap. Rowe. 

81. bandy] Steevens: A metaphor from tennis. [Cotgraye: fouir a bander 
<5r» a racier contre. To bandy against, at Tennis ; and (by metaphor) to pursue with 
all insolencie, rigour, extremitie.] 

88. have you wisdom ?] Schmidt plausibly urges that this is not a question, 
but an imperative. The superfluous you or 0§u alter an imperative is almost too 
common in Sh. to be noted. Schmidt refers\fb lines 138 (which is scarcely par- 
allel) and 331 of this scene, and also to I, v, 1 ; II, iv, 154; III, Hi, 7, 13; III. vii, 
6; IV, vi, 137 of this play. 

90. earnest] Schmidt cites Two Gent. II, i, 163, and Com. of Err. II, ii, 24, as 
instances of quibbles, where this word is used in both of its meanings : handsel and 

91. Enter Fool.] C. A. Brown {Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems, p. 292, 
1838) : * Now, our joy, though last, not least, 9 my dearest of all Fools, Lear's Fool! 
Ah, what a noble heart, a gentle and a loving one, lies beneath that parti-coloured 
jerkin 1 Thou hast been cruelly treated. "Regan and Goneril could but hang thee, 
while the unfeeling players did worse; for they tainted thy character, and at last 


[91. Enter Fool.] 

thrust thee from the stage, as one unfit to appear in their worshipful company. Re* 
gardless of that warning voice forbidding them to * speak more than is set down for 
them/ they have put into thy mouth words so foreign to thy nature, that they might, 
with as much propriety, be given to Cardinal Wolsey. But let me take thee, with- 
out addition or diminution, from the hands of Sh., and then art thou one of hit 
perfect creations. Look at him ! It may be your eyes see him not as mine do, but he 
appears to me of a light delicate frame, every feature expressive of sensibility even 
to pain, with eyes lustrously intelligent, a mouth blandly beautiful, and withal a 
hectic flush upon his cheek. Oh that I were a painter ! Oh that I could describe him 
as I knew him in my boyhood, when the Fool made me shed tears, while Lear did 
Out terrify me 1 • . . When the Fool enters,- throwing his coxcomb at Kent, and 
instantly follows it up with allusions to the miserable rashness of Lear, we ought 
to understand him from that moment to the last. Throughout this scene his wit, 
however varied, still aims at the same point, and in spite of threats, and regardless 
how his words may be construed by Goneril's creatures, with the eagerness of a 
filial love he prompts the old king to ' resume the shape which he had cast off.' 
'This is not altogether fool, my lord. 9 But, alasl it is too late; and when driven 
from the scene by Goneril, he turns upon her with an indignation that knows no fear 
of the ' halter* for himself: ' A fox when one has caught her, And such a daughter, 
Should sure to the slaughter, If my cap would buy a halter.' That such a character 
should be distorted by players, printers, and commentators t Observe every word 
he speaks; his meaning, one would imagine, could not be misinterpreted; and when 
at length, finding his covert reproaches can avail nothing, he changes his discourse 
to simple mirth, in order to distract the sorrows of his master. When Lear is in 
the storm, who is with him ? None — not even Kent — ' None but the Fool ; who 
labours to outjest His heart-struck injuries.' The tremendous agony of Lear's 
mind would be too painful, and even deficient in pathos, without this poor faithful 
servant at his. side. It is he that touches our hearts with pity, while Lear fills the 
imagination to aching. . . . But it is acted otherwise, — no, it is Tate that is acted. 
Let them, if they choose, bring this tragedy on the stage ; but, by all means, let us 
not be without the Fool. I can imagine an actor in this part, with despair in his 
face, and a tongue for ever struggling with a jest, who should thrill every bosom. 
What ! banish him from the tragedy, when Lear says, ' I have one part in my heart 
that's sorry yet for thee ;' and when he so feelingly addresses him with, • Come on, my 
boy ; how dost, my boy ? Art cold ? I am cold myself.' At that pitch oi* rage, ' Off! 
off, you lendings 1 Come, unbutton here 1' could we but see the Fool throw himself 
into his master's arms, to stay their fury, looking up in his countenance with eyes that 
would fain appear as if they wept not, and hear his pathetic entreaty, * Pr'ythee, 
nuncle, be contented ;' — pshaw ! these players know nothing of their trade. 

In Macready'S Diary is the following: 4th [January, 1838]. — Went to the the- 
atre, where I went on a first rehearsal of Xing Lear. My opinion of the introduc- 
tion of the Fool is that, like many such terrible contrasts in poetry and painting, 
in acting-representation it will fail of effect ; it will either weary and annoy or dis- 
tract the spectator. I have no hope of it, and think that at the last we shall be 
obliged to dispense with it. 5th. — Speaking to Willmott and Bartley about the part 
of the Fool in Lear, and mentioning my apprehensions that, with Meadows, we 
should be obliged to omit the part, I described the sort of fragile, hectic, beautiful- 

68 KING LEAR [ACT I, SC. iv. 

[91. Enter Fool.] 

faced boy that he should be, and stated my belief that it never could be acted. Bart* 
ley observed that a woman should play it. I caught at the idea, and instantly ex- 
claimed, 'Miss P. Horton is the very person. 9 I was delighted at the thought 

C. Cowden Clarke {Gent. Mag. No. LVIII, p. 397): Lear's Fool is a youth, 
not a grown man; a petted lad, to whom his royal master looks for quaint say- 
ings and whimsical sentences when vexed and irritable; a favoured fellow, whose 
wayward speeches are tolerated, and even liked, when graver cares press hard on 
the old monarch, and to whose playful sallies he .turns when desiring to fill a vacant 
half hour or beguile a leisure interval. • • « The personal and affectionate interest 
taken by Lear in the lad is denoted at the very outset He not only asks eagerly 
and repeatedly for him, but when told that since Cordelia's going into France ' the 
Fool hath much pined away/ Lear answers hurriedly: ' No more of that; / have 
noted it well/ and when the Fool himself appears on the scene, his old master 
accosts him with : ' How now, my pretty knave, how dost thou P The very expres- 
sion, ' My pretty knave/ serves to paint the Fool's boyish years, and to depict the 
fondling regard of Lear for him. . . . This kind of gentle feeling is shown by others 
as well as the king towards the stripling fool-jester; for Kent — who, disguised as 
Caius, affects much bluntness of speech— on more than one occasion speaks favour- 
ingly of and to the lad. When the Fool is Sportively and keenly rebuking Lear for 
having so unwisely cast all power into his unworthy daughter's hands, Kent observes : 
' This is not altogether fool, my lord.' Afterwards, also, in the storm, when the boy, 
scared at finding the Bedlam beggar in the hovel, runs out again, exclaiming: 'Come 
not in here, nuncle ; here's a spirit Help me, help me H Kent encouragingly says : 
'Give me thy hand. Who's there?' And still further on, at the close of that wild 
night-scene, when the poor old king, worn out, has fallen into weary slumber, Kent, 
preparing to bear him away to safer quarters, says to the faithful Fool : ' Come, help 
to bear thy master; thou must not stay behind/ This tenderness with which the boy 
is treated partly arises from his delicacy of frame, which is indicated by some slight 
but significant side-touches in the course of the play. First, there is his ' pining 
away ' on his young mistress's departure from England, above alluded to. Then, 
there is his sensitiveness to churlish weather and sharp night air, betokened by his 
words during the storm : ' O nuncle, court holy water/ &c. Again : ' This cold 
night will turn us all to fools and madmen/ Lastly, there is his withdrawal from 
the play. It is silently effected,. the dramatist giving no express mention of the Fool 
after his assisting to bear his old master away to the litter prepared for conveying the 
king to Dover; but, to my mind, Sh. evidently meant to infer that the fragile lad-* 
weakly in frame, susceptible in temperament, and rendered doubly so by the delicacy 
of his nurture in the court household as the petted boy-jester of his royal employer— 
never recovered from the rigours and terrors of that tempestuous night; that he sick- 
ened and died soon after, fulfilling actually, as well as poetically, his own last uttered 
words : * And I'll go to bed at noon/ In this noontide of his youth and fidelity, Lear's 
Fool goes to his deathbed, when his old master no longer needs him by his side.' 

W. W. Lloyd : It is indicated that the Fool is a boy, a pretty knave, young 
that is, and of pleasant aspect, and the boundaries of his intelligence lie somewhere 
between innocence and acuteness, but whereabouts is undefihable ; it is only when 
the king is conscious of the full extent of his injustice and his misery, that the Fool 
desists from probing the wounds, and torturing by truth told jestingly, — and now 

act x. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 69 

Lear. How now, my pretty knave ! how dost thou? 92 

Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. 
Kent. Why, Fool? 

Fool. Why? for taking one's part that's out of favour. 95 
Nay, and thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch 

94. Kent Why] Qq. Lear. Why Dyce ct cet. 

F t F„ Knt, Coll. i f Del. i f Sch. 95. onts] onU Q,. 

Fool] my Boy Ff+, Knt, Coll. that's'] that is F 4 +, Steev. Ec. 

Del. Sch. Var. 

95. Whyffor]Ff+, Cap. Jen. Steev. 96. and] QqF.F^, Rowe, Sch. 6* 
Ec. Var. Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. F t . as Warb. <M*Pope et cet 

Ktly, Sdu Why for Qq. Why, for thoiiti] thottt Qq. 

'labours to outjest his heart-struck injuries. 9 [After these long and good notes by 
my betters, I wish merely to record humbly but firmly my conviction that the Fool, 
one of Shakespeare's most wonderful characters, is not a boy, but a man— one of the 
shrewdest, tenderest of men, whom long life had made shrewd, and whom afflictions 
had made tender; his wisdom is too deep for any boy, and could be found only in a 
man, removed by not more than a score of years from the king's own age ; he had 
been Lear's companion from the days of Lear's early manhood. See also White's 
note on line 123. — Ed.] 

93. you were best] Abbott, § 230: The old « (to) me (it) were better,' being 
misunderstood, was sometimes replaced by ' I were better.'* When the old idiom is 
retained, it is generally in instances like the present, where • you ' may represent 
either nominative or dative, but was almost certainly used by Sh. as a nominative. 
See III, iv, 99. 

93. coxcomb] Minsheu (s. v. eoekes-eombe, ed. 1617) : Englishmen use to call 
vaine and proud braggers, and men of meane discretion and judgement Coxeombes. 
Because naturaU Idiots and Fooles haue, and still doe accustome themselues to weare 
in their Cappes, cock's feathers, or a hat with a necke and head of a cocke on the 
top and a bell thereon, &c, and thinke themselues finely fitted and proudly attired 
therewith, so we compare a presumptuous bragging fellow, and wanting all true 
Iudgement and discretion, to such an Idiote foole, and call him also Coxecombe. 
[Cited in part by Steevens.] 

94. Why, Fool] Knight: The text of the Folio [see Textual Notes] clearly 
shows that the speech was intended for Lear, and that, however it might have been 
written originally, Sh. in his amended copy would not permit Kent, in his character 
of serving-man, so soon to begin bandying questions with Lear's favorite. White : 
The Folio is clearly wrong, as the Fool's reply shows. Lear had taken * no one's part 
that's out of favour,' but Kent had. The mistake seems to be due to the fact that 
both Lear and Kent reply interrogatively to the Fool's remark about his coxcomb. 
Dyce: The eye of the transcriber or compositor most probably caught the next 
speech but one. It is plain that the Fool addresses the king for the first time when 
he says : ' How now, nuncle,' &c. Schmidt silently follows F,F t , which are to me 
unquestionably wrong. 

95. one's] Abbott, § 81 : We never use the possessive inflection of the unem- 
phatic one as an antecedent. 

96. and] Abbott, § xoi 1 Equivalent to if. This particle has been derived 


cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb; why, this fellow 97 
has banished two on's daughters, and did the third a bless- 
ing against his will ; if thou follow him, thou must needs 
wear my coxcomb. — How now, nuncle ? Would I had two 100 
coxcombs and two daughters 1 

Lear. Why, my boy? 

F00L If I gave them all my living, I 'Id keep my cox- 
combs myself. There's mine ; beg another of thy daughters. 

Lear. Take heed, sirrah ; the whip. 105 

$8. has] hath Qq, Cam. ha's F t . 103. gave] give F S F 4 +. 

en's] of his Q t , Popc+, Steev. ail my] a ny Qq. 

Mai. Ec. Knt, Sing. Ktly. rid] ril Rowc+. 

did] done Qq, Cam. coxcombs] Q,. Coxcombes F f . 

ioi. and two] an* two (i. e. if two) coxcombe Q,F a . Coxcomb F 3 F 4 , Rowe, 

Farmer. ~ Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

from an, the imperative of unnan, to grant. This plausible but false derivation 
-was originated by Home Tooke, and has been adopted by the edd. of the Cam. Sh. 
But the word is often written 'and* in Early English .(St ratmann), as well as in 
Elitabethan authors. So almost always in the Folio. 

96. catch cold] Farmer : That is, be turned out of doors and exposed to the 
inclemency of the weather. 

98. banished] Capell: This means that he had lost them as daughters, lost 
their love and obedience, and by an act of his own. Eccles thinks that these 
words are spoken in the wanton levity of the character, as being the contrary of 
those favours Lear had conferred upon them. Moberly: Lear has, by blessing 
them, made Goneril and Regan no longer his daughters, and also made Cordelia 
queen of France by cursing her. 

98. on's] Abbott, § 182: 'On' was frequently used for the possessive of, par- 
ticularly, in rapid speech, before a contracted pronoun. The explanation of this 
change of of to * on ' appears to be as follows : Of when rapidly pronounced before 
a consonant became 0' ; but when o f came before a vowel it was forced to assume a 
euphonic n. See I, v, 19. 

98. did] For instances of the transitive use of this word, see Abbott, § 303. 

100. nuncle] Nares : A familiar contraction of mine uncle. It seems to have 
been the customary appellation of the licensed fool to his superiors. In the same 
style the fools called each other cousin. In Beaumont and Fletcher's Pilgrim, when 
Alinda assumes the character of a fool, she uses the same language. She meets 
Alphonso, and calls him nuncle; to which he replies by calling her naunt. Wright: 
So in Whetstone's, Promos and Cassandra, iv, 7, we find * my nown good harte roote.* 
In Littrt's Diet,, under the word « Tante, 9 it is stated that ' nante' is a form of the 
word in Picardy, and in justification of the derivation of tante from la ante, refer- 
ence is made to the Wallon dialect, in which mononk, mat ante, and similar forms 
are used, the possessive pronoun having no force whatever. If the origin of ' nuncle * 
is not analogous, it must be referred to the principle by which Noll, Ned, Nan* Nell, 
Numps are formed from Oliver, Edward, Anne, Ellen and Humphrey. iv.] KING LEAR 7 l 

Fool. Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whip- 106 
ped out, when Lady, the brach, may stand by th' fire and 
Lear. A pestilent gall to me ! 

Fool. Sirrah, 111 teach thee a speech. 1 10 

Lear. Do. 
Fool. Mark it, nuncle : 

Have more than thou showest, 

Speak less than thou knowest, 

Lend less than thou owest, 11$ 

Ride more than thou goest, 

Learn more than thou trowest, 

Set less than thou throwest; 

106. Truth's a] Truth is a Q t . Truth 107. byth'fire]Yf^ Jen. Wh.Sch. 
is, a Q^ ty th'Jtre F f F t . 

must to] that muft to Qq, Jem 1 09. gall] gull Qq. 

Steev. Mai. Ec. Bos. Sing. Ktly. no. [To Kent. Rowe+, Jen. Ec 

107. Lady, the brach,"] Steev. MaL Sirrah"} Sirha F.F,. 
Glo. + , Mob. Ladie oth'e brach Qq. III. Lear.] Ken. Cap. 
(LadyQ 9 .) the Lady Brach Ff+, Cap. 112. nuncle] vncle Q,. Vnckle Q,. 
Jen. Ec. Knt, Coll. Del. Dyce, Sta. Wh. Vuckle, Q 3 . 

Huds. Sch. 113-122. Have..^core.] Prose, Qq. 

X07. brach] Steevens: A bitch of the hunting kind. Dr Letherland, on the 
margin of Warburton's ed., proposed ' lady's brach/ 1. e. favoured animal. ' Lady* 
is still a common name for a hound. So Hotspur, in 1 Hen. IV: III, i, 240. Toi> 
let [Note in III, vi, 67] : The females of all dogs were once called braches. Uli- 
tius upon Gratius observes: ' Racha Saxonibus canem significabat unde Scoti hodie 
Rache pro cane foemina habent, quod Anglis est Rrache.' A[rchibald] S[mith] 
(iV. and Qu. 2 Ser. 9 vol. v, p. 202, 1858) : Here is a curious opposition between 
' truth ' and ' lady,' where one would have expected the opposition to be between 
* truth ' and tie. May it not be that Sh. wrote * lye the brach,' and that the printers 
thought ' lye ' a contraction for ' lady/ instead of the whole of the opposite of truth t 
Wright : Florio has, ' Bracca, a brache, or a bitch, a beagle ;' Cotgrave : < Braque : 
m. A kind of short-tayled setting dog; ordinarily spotted, or partie-coloured.' Baret 
gives * a Brache or biche. Canicula.' The word is found in German Brache, and 
in Dutch Brak. 

109. pestilent gall] Moberly: A passionate remembrance of Oswald's inso- 
lence. [This does not satisfy me, but I can offer nothing better. — Ed.] 

115. owest] For 'owe/ meaning to possess, see Sh. passim. 

117. trowest] Warburton gives to this the meaning of to believe, to think, to 
conceive, and he has been followed by all other editors since his time except Capell, 
who says it means to know, and cites in confirmation, I, iv, 207, where the Qq have 
trow instead of ' know ' of the Ff. Capeil's interpretation seems the better of the 

72 KING LEAR [act.i. SC hr. 

Leave thy drink and thy whore, 
And keep in-a-door, 120 

And thou shalt have more 
Than two tens to a score. 
Kent This is nothing, Fool. 

Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer, you 
gave me nothing for'L — Can you make no use of nothing, 125 
nuncle ? 

12a in-a-door] Cap. in a doore Qq. 124. 'tis] Om. Qq. itisT^ Rowe+, 

mi a dore T n F r in don F r in Door Ec 

F 4 , Rowe. vnthin door Pope+. 125. gave] give F S F 4 , Rowe, Pope. 

123. Kent.] Lear. Qq, Mai. Steer, for' 7] fir it Q^ 

Bos. Coll. Sta. 126. nuncU] Vnele Qq. 

two in this passage, despite the fact that Warburton pronounces the line, as he inter- 
prets it, ' an admirable precept.' 

118. Set] Mrs Griffiths: That is, never set equal to the stake you throw for. 
Schmidt: The sense varies according to the way in which we understand Mess,' 
whether as an adjective or as an adverb. If it is an adjective, then the meaning is : 
« Set a less sum than thou hast won by thy last throw;' if an adverb: *Keep on 
throwing, but set nothing/ 

123. Kent] Knight: The Ff properly gives this speech to Kent, in reply to the 
Fool's address to him, ' Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.' White also upholds the 
Ff, because : ' it should be observed, that in addressing this poor, faithful follower, 
the king never calls him Fool. In speaking of him, he gives him his official title ; 
but in speaking to him, he always uses some term of familiar and pitiful endear- 
ment, — generally, " my boy," — although the poor fellow had plainly had many years' 
sad experience of the world. It seems a deteriorating misapprehension of this phrase 
that has led an eminent actor [Macready] to represent the Fool as a boy in years ! 
I cannot believe that on this solitary occasion Sh. was indifferent to the touching 
nature of the relations which he had established between Lear and his humble coun. 
sellor; and I accept the evidence of the Folio that this speech is one of Kent's many 
characteristic interruptions ' 

124. unfee'd lawyer] Lord Campbell (Shakespeare's Legal Acquirements, p. 
97, Am. ed.) : This seems to show that Sh. had frequently been present at trials in 
courts of justice, and now speaks from his own recollection. There is no trace of 
such a proverbial saying as ' like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer,' while all the world 
knows the proverb : ' Whosoever is his own counsel has a fool for his client/ How 
unfee'd lawyers may have comported themselves in Shakespeare's time I know not ; 
but I am bound to say, in vindication of ' my order,' that in my time there has been 
no ground for the Fool's sarcasm upon the bar. The two occasions when ' the breath 
of an unfee'd lawyer ' attracts notice in this generation, are when he pleads for a 
party suing in form A pauperis t or when he defends a person prosecuted by the Crown 
for high treason. It is contrary to etiquette to take a fee in the one case as in the 
other; and on all such occasions counsel, from a regard to their own credit, as well 
as from conscientious motives, uniformly exert themselves with extraordinary zeal* 
and put forth all their learning and eloquence. 

ACT I, SC. IV.] 



Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of 127 

Fool. \To Kent] Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of 
his land comes to ; he will not believe a F00L \ 130 

Lear. A bitter Fool ! 

Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a 
bitter fool and a sweet one ? 

Lear. No, lad ; teach me. 



* That lord that counsell'd thee 
To give away thy land, 
Come place him here by me; 

Do thou for him stand : 
The sweet and bitter fool 
Will presently appear; 
The one in motley here, 
The other found out there. 
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy? 
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away ; that 
♦thou wast born with. 145 


127, 128. nothing...nothing] Separate 
line, Ff, Rowe. 
129. [To Kent] Rowe. Om. QqF£ 
131*134. In the margin, Pope. 
131-142. In the margin, Han. 

132. Dost thou] Doo'Jl Q,. 
my boy] nuncU Cap. 

133. sweet oni\ Ff+, Knt, Coll. Del. 
Dyce i, Sta. Wh. Huds. Sch. fweetefool 
Qq et cet 

135. [Sings. Anon.* 

135-150. That lord..jnatehing.] Om. 
Ff, Rowe. 

135-142. Om. Pope. In the margin, 

That lord. ..there.] As in pap. 
Four lines, Qq, Theob.+, Jen. Knt, 

138. Do] Or do Han. Cap. Jen. Steev. 
Mai. Ec.JBos. Sta. Hods. Sch. 

142. [Pointing to Lear. Coll. iii. 

143. boy] Om. Pope, Han. 

135-150. Johnson: These lines were omitted in the Ff, perhaps for political 
reasons, as they seemed to censure the monopolies. 

138. Do] Jennens adopts Hanmer's change * Or do? and asserts that the measure 
points out that a word is lost here [which is true], and that the sense shows it to be 
Or [which is doubtful]. White is equally sure that the missing word is And ; his 
text reads ' And do thou? and in his note he says that this And the rhythm so imper- 
atively demands that * it could not possibly have been omitted in a rhyme like this, 
even if it were as superfluous as it is appropriate to the sense. It was doubtless 
omitted by accident.' The Cambridge Editors suggest an emendation which is, 
perhaps, the happiest of any yet offered : ' Do thou there for him stand.' The an- 
tithesis with the preceding line is emphasized, and the similarity of the ( thou ' and 
the there in MS might well have been the cause, through oversight, of the omission 
of the latter word by the compositor. 

142. there] Delius: Pointing to the king. 




[act i, sc. for. 

* Kent This is not altogether fool, my lord 146 

* Fool. No, faith, lords and great men will not let me ; 

* if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on't; and 

* ladies too, they will not let me have all the fool to myself; 
•they'll be snatching.* Nuncle, give me an egg, and I'll 150 
give thee two crowns. 

Lear. What two crowns shall they be ? 

Fool Why, after I have cut the egg i' th' middle and 
eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou 
clovest thy crown i' th' middle and gavest away both parts, 155 
thou borest thine ass on thy back o'er the dirt ; thou hadst 
little wit in thy bald crown when thou gavest thy golden 
one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped 
that first finds it so. 

148. ouf] <w*7Pope+. 

, 148, 149. orit ; and ladies too,"] aril, 
and Ladies too, Q t , Jen. on't, and lodes 
too* Q,. orit; nay the ladies loo, Pope 
+ . orit; and the ladies too, Steev. '73. 
orit, and loads too : Coll. i, ii, Del. i, 
Dyce i, Wh. Ktly. 

149. they will] they'll Pope +, Cap. 
all the fool] Q t , Jen. Cam. Wr. 

Sch. all foole Q, et cet. 

to myself] myself Pope, Han. 

150. Nuncle, give me an egg] Ff, 
Rowe, Knt, Dyce i, Sch. Give...egg, 

Nuncle Qq et cet 
»53- ** '*'] **' F,. in the Qq, Cam. 

155. crown] crownes F t . 

• • th 1 ] itri F t . tf^Q,. in the 
Q.. Cap. 

156. borest] boar* ft F.F.F,. borftF^ 
thine ass] thr ajfe Qq, GIo. Wr. 


on thy] afh Q^ 

o'er] over Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. 

158. one] crown Johns. 

159. so] sooth Warb. 

146. altogether fool] The concrete for the abstract. For other instances, see 
Schmidt, Lex., p. 1423, $ 12; see also II, iv, 145, where we have the abstract for 
the concrete. 

148. out] Jennens : That is, a patent out of court for being sole fool. War- 
burton : A satire on the gross abuses of monopolies at that time, and the corrup- 
tion and avarice of the courtiers, who commonly went shares with the patentee. 
Steevens : Monopolies in Shakespeare's time were common objects of satire. 

149. ladies] Collier, in his ed. i and ii, justifies his adoption of lodes of the Qq, 
saying that all the fool means is that, if he had a monopoly of folly, great men would 
have part of it, and a large part, too. Dyce, in his ed. ii, after quoting Collier's note, 
adds: 'But mark the ridiculous inconsistency of expression in the passage, if the 
Fool be speaking of lords only, — " they would have part on't" — " and loads too " — 
u they'll be snatching." * Dyce gives no intimation that in his ed. i, he adopted Col- 
lier's reading with silent approval. In his ed. iii, Collier reads as in the text. 

158, 159. If . • . so] Eccles: Possibly he means to say that he will deserve to be 
whipped who does not, or cannot, discover that in this instance, at least, he speaks 
good sense. Perhaps, better thus : The Fool was accustomed to speak bitter and 

ACT I. SC. iv.J 



1 60 

Fools had ne'er less grace in a year; 

For wise men are grown foppish, 
And know not how their wits to wear. 

Their manners are so apish. 

Lear. When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah? 

Fool. I have used it, nuncle, e'er since thou madest thy 165 
daughters thy mothers ; for when thou gavest them the rod 
and puttedst down thine own breeches, 

Then they for sudden joy did weep, 

And I for sorrow sung \ 
That such a king should play bo-peep, 170 

And go the fools among. 

Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy 
Fool to lie. I would fain learn to lie. 

160 and 168. Singing Rowe. 

160. had ne'er] ne'er had Pope+, Ec. 

grace] wit Qq, Glo. + , Mob. 
162. And] They Qq, Glo. Wr. Mob. 

know not how] well may fear 
Coll. (MS). 

to] doe Q t . do Q,. 

164. When] Since when Han. 

165. ier] Rowe + f Jen. Knt, Dyce, 
Sch. ere F,F t . e*re F 3 F 4 . euer Qq 
et cct. 

166. mothers] mother Qq,Mal. Steev. 

Bos. Sing, Ktly, Cam. Wr. 

167. puttedst] Dyce ii, Coll. in, pufjl 
or puijl or putiest QqFf et cet. 

thine] thy Theob. ii, Warb. 
Johns. Jen. 

168. Then they] As part of the song, 
Theob. Prose, Ff. 

168-171. for among] Verse, Ff. 

Prose, Qq. 

171. fools] Foole F,F t , Cap. Knt. 

172. Prithee] prethe Q t . prethee Q r 
Pry? thy Y v Prethy F,. Prythee FjF 4 . 

unpalatable truths, and had sometimes been chastised for so doing. * If then,' he 
says, * I speak on this occasion like myself — /. e, like a fool, foolishly — «let not me be 
whipped, but him who first finds it to be as I have said'— 1 . e. the king himself, who 
was likely to be soonest sensible of the truth and justness of the sarcasm, and who, 
he insinuates, deserved whipping for the silly part he had acted. 

160. Fools • • • year ;] Johnson : There never was a time when fools were less 
in favour; and the reason is, that they were never so little wanted, for wise men now 
supply their place. Capell discovered that this line, somewhat changed, is to be 
found in Lyly's Mother Bomdte, 1 594: 'I thinke Gentlemen had never lesse wit in 
a yeere.' See Capell's School of Sh. t p. 24. 

161, 163. foppish • . • apish] See, for the rhyme, II, Hi, 20. 

168, 169. Then . . . sung] Steevens : Compare Hey wood's Rape of Luereee, 
1608 : ' When Tarquin first in court began, And was approved king, Some men for 
sudden joy gan weep, But I for sorrow sing.' 

171. among] For other instances of the transposition of prepositions, see Abbott, 



[act I, sc. iv. 

Z&zr. And you lie, sirrah, we'll have you whipped 
Fool. I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are; 175 
they'll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt have me 
whipped for lying, and sometimes I am whipped for holding 
my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing than a Fool ; 
and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy 
wit o' both sides and left nothing i' th' middle. Here comes 180 
one o' the parings. 

Enter Goneril. 

Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet on? 
Methinks you are too much of late i' th' frown. 

174- And] Q,, Ff f Rowe, Sch. If 
Q,, Pope +, Cap. Jen. Steev. Mai. Ec. 
Bos. An Knt et cet. 

sirrah] Om. Qq. 

176. thou'lt] thou wilt Qq, Jen. 

177. sometimes] fometime Qq. 

178. 0'] o/Qq, Cap. Jen. Steev. Mai. 
Ec. Bos. Knt, Sing. Ktly. 

180. o' both] a both Qq. 

f th 1 ] in the Qq, Cap. Steev. MaL 
Ec. Bos. Knt, Sing. Ktly. 

l8cv Here] heare F t . 

181. o* the] of the Qq, Cap. 

182. Scene xnr. Pope +, Jen. 

182, 183. ffow....frown] Prose, Ff. 
Two lines, Qq, Coll. i, Sing. Wh. Sta. 
Ktly, Sch. 

182. daughter] our daughter Ktly. 
on ?] on, Qq. 

183. Methinhs] Om. Ff, Rowe+ , Jen. 
of late] otateQu. 

179. thee] Abdott, (213: 'Thee' for thorn is found after the verb to be not 
merely here in the Fool's mouth, but also in Tim. IV, iii, 277, and in 2 Hen. VI: 
XV, i, 117. In these cases ' thee' represents a person not regarded as acting, but 
about whom something is predicated. 

181. Goneril] Coleridge: The monster Goneril prepares what is necessary, 
while the character of Albany renders a still more maddening grievance possible— 
namely, Regan and Cornwall in perfect sympathy of monstrosity. Not a sentiment, 
not an image, which can give pleasure on its own account, is admitted. Whenever 
these 'creatures are introduced, and they are brought forward as little as possible, 
pure horror reigns throughout. In this scene, and in all the early speeches of Lear, 
the one general sentiment of filial ingratitude prevails as the main-spring of the 
feelings ; — in this early stage the outward object causing the pressure on the mind, 
which is not yet sufficiently familiarized 'with the anguish for the imagination to work 
upon it. 

182. frontlet] Steevens: Compare the following in The Four P's, 1569 [vol. i, 
p. 70, ed. Dodsley; the Pardoner has asked why women are so long dressing after 
they get up in the morning, and the Pedler replies, with a play upon the word let, 
meaning hindrance] : ( Forsoth, women have many lettes, And they be masked in 
many nettes: As frontlettes, fyllettes, partlettes, and bracelettes; And then theyi 
bonettes, and theyr poynettes. By these lettes and nettes, the lette is suche, That 
spede is small, whan haste is muche.' And more appositely, in Zepheria, a collec- 
tion of Sonnets, 1594 [Canzon. 27. — Wright] : * But now my sunne it fits thou take 
thy set, And vayle thy face wrth frownes as with a frontlet.' M alone: A < frontlet* 

ACT I, sc. iv.] KING LEAR 77 

Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no 
need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O with- 185 
out a figure; I am better than thou art now; I am a Fool, 
thou art nothing. — Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; 
so your face bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, 

He that keeps nor crust nor crumb, 190 

Weary of all, shall want some* — 
That's a shealed peascod. 

185. frowning] frowne Qq. Jen. 1 90. nor crumb] not crttmb F,F a . 

187. [To Gon. Pope. 192. [Pointing to Lear. Johns. Speak- 

188. Mum, mum;"] Separate line, ing to Lear. Warb. To Kent, shewing 
Cam. Lear. Cap. 

[Singing. Rowe +, CoU. That's] Thou art Warb. 

188, 190. jt/i*J9t...crumb] Cap. One shea/ed] shelf dC&i>.\Vh.Co\\.\ii. 

line, QqFf + , Jen. Sch. peascod] Pope ii. Pefcod QqFf. 
190. nor crust] neither crujt Qq, Jen. 

was a forehead cloth, used formerly by ladies at night to render that part smooth. So 
in Lyly's Euphues [p. 286, ed. Arber] : * The next daye I comming to the gallery 
where she was solitaryly walking, with her frowning cloth, as sick lately of the 
solens,' &c Staunton : The very remarkable effect of this band, in the contrac- 
tion of the brows, may be observed in some of the monumental effigies of the four- 
teenth century, and especially in those small figures usually called ( Weepers' which 
are found standing in tabernacles, on the sides of rich altar-tombs of the same period. 
Lear, however, may be supposed to speak metaphorically. Wright: Compare 
I Hen. IV: I, iii, 19 : ' And majesty might never yet endure The moody frontier 
of a servant brow, 9 where * frontier* is apparently used with some reference to tin 
or head-dress. 

188. bids me] Moberly gathers from this * that the Fool is really mad, so far that 
he cannot control his gibes ; for he goes on again directly in spite of his manifest 
dread of Gonerirs wrath.' [To the present editor this inference is incomprehen- 
sible, unless * really mad ' be taken in the Yankee sense of * real mad.'] 

190, 191. He . . . some] Dyce agrees with Collier in thinking that these and 
lines 208, 209 are fragments of some satirical ballad. 

192. That's . . • peascod] Warburton was the first to insert a stage-direction 
here, directly referring this sentence to Lear, and he tias been followed, I think, by 
all edd. except Delius. As though the point were not made thereby sufficiently 
clear, Warburton changed « That's ' to Thou art. I cannot help thinking that stage- 
directions like these are in general needless, not to say obtrusive. If the action is 
so clear that the humblest intellect can perceive it, surely a stage-direction is super- 
fluous; for instance, when the Fool says to Kent, * Here's my coxcomb,' does any 
one require to be told that he here offers Kent his cap? When Lear says * There's 
earnest of thy service,' may not an editor assume that a reader has some intelligence, 
and needs not to be told that Lear here * gives Kent money ' ? In the present in- 
stance the application is sufficiently clear without any indication with the finger.— 

7 # 

78 KING LEAR [act x, scAv. 

Gon. Not only, sir, this your all-licensed Fool, 
But other of your insolent retinue 

Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth 195 

In rank and not to be endured riots. Sir, 
I had thought, by making this well known unto you, 
To have found a safe redress ; but now grow fearful, 
By what yourself too late have spoke and done, 
That you proteft this course and put it on 200 

By your allowance ; which if you shpuld, the fault 
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep, 

193-206] Prose, Qq. Separate line, Wh. Dyce ii, Huds. 

193. this] thus Johns. 197. had] Om. Pope-f • 

194. other] others Johns. known] know F 4 . 
196. not...riots. Sir,] Pointed as by unto] to Quincy (MS). 

Cap. {not.. .indured riots,) Sir Q,. (not 200. put it on] put on Qq. 

...riots) Sir, Q,. (not...endur*d) riots 201. which] Om. Pope +, Jen. 

Sir. FT (subs.), Sch. not. ..riots. Sir 202* redresses] redreffe, Q,. redrejft 

Rowe, Pope, Han. Jen. Q,. 
Sir] Om. Theob. Warb. Johns. 

Cotgrave has, •Goussepilli; • • • vnhusked, shaled, vncased, stripped.' Johnson 
explains the phrase (if explanation be needed), « The outside of a king remains, but 
all the intrinsic parts of royalty are gone.' 

Tollet (who has been followed by many an editor without credit accorded to 
him), on the authority of Camden's Remains, states that Richard IPs effigy in West* 
minster Abbey is wrought with peascods open and the peas out; * perhaps,' adds 
Tollet, ( an allusion to his being once in full possession of sovereignty, but soon 
reduced to an empty title.' But Toilet's interpretation of this monumental symbolism 
is itself converted to a ' shealed peascod ' by Wright's discovery that the peascods 
in question ' are the pods of the planta genista, or broom plant, the badge of the 
Plantagenets. Moreover, although the pods are open, the seeds are indicated.' 

194. other] For other instances of the use of this word as a plural pronoun, see 
Abbott, § 12, p. 24. 

196. Sir] Walker (Vers. 269): Perhaps, metri gratis, this word should be 
placed by itself, in a separate line. [See Textual Notes.] 

198. To have found] See Ham. V, i, 233, or Abbott, 5 360. 

200. put it on] Steevens : Promote it. So Maeb. IV, iii, 239. 

201. Allowance] Malone : Approbation. Moberly : The rest of the sentence 
labours under a plethora of relatives. The meaning, however, is simple : « If you 
instigate your men to riot I will check it, even though it offends you ; as that offence, 
wnich would otherwise be a shame, would be proved by the necessity to be a discreet 
proceeding.' « Yes,' replies the Fool, « and so the young cuckoo, wanting the nest 
to itself, was under the regrettable necessity of biting off the head of its foster-mother 
the sparrow; which, under the circumstances, was not a shame, but an act of dis- 

ACT I, SC. IV.] 



Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal, 
Might in their working do you that offence, 
Which else were shame, that then necessity 
Will call discreet proceeding. 
Fool. For, you know, nuncle, 

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long % 
That it's had it head bit off by it young. 
So out went the candle, and we were left darkling. 



205. Which] that Qq. 

206. mil] muft Qq. 
proceeding] proceedings Qq. 

207. know] trow Qq, Cap. Steev. Mai. 
Ec. Bos. Coll. Del. Sing. Dyce i, Sta. 
Ktly, Glo. Mob. 

208. [Singing. Coll. (MS). 
208-209. Thc.young.] Verse, Pope. 

Prose, QqFf. 

209. it's had it head] F,, Sta. Glo. 
Sch. it had it head Qq, Wh. Ktly, Cam. 
Del. ii, Wr. it had ifs head FjF 4 „ 
Pope, Cap. it's had its head Mob. it 
had its head F, et cet. 

by it] F.F., Sta. Wh. Ktly, Glo + , 
Del. ii, Mob. Sch. beit Qq. by its 
FjF 4 , Pope, Cap. by its Rowe et cet. 

203. tender . • . weal] Wright : That is, in caring for a sound or healthily or* 
ganized commonwealth. For 'tender* as a verb in this sense compare Hen. V: II, 
ii, 175. And for a play upon its other senses see Ham. I, Hi, 106-109. For * whole- 
some ' in the sense of ' healthy ' compare Ham. Ill, iv, 65. ' Weal ' for ' common- 
wealth ' occurs in Macb. Ill, iv, 76. 

209. it head] See notes on Ham. I, ii, 216. White thinks that 't'/'x had 9 of 
the Folio is a mere misprint, and not an abbreviation of ( it has had ;' but Staunton, 
Wright, and the present Editor think that it is an abbreviation. So also does 
Schmidt. Tiessen (Archiv.f. d. n. Spr. lviii, pt. ii, p. 160) suggests that ( it' here 
is baby talk, like * it grandam ' in King John. See also IV, ii, 32. 

210. So . . . darkling] Steevens : Farmer concurs with me in supposing that this is 
a fragment of some old song. M ALONE : In a very old comedy called The Longer Thou 
Livest the more Foole Thou Arte, about 1580, we find the following stage-direction : 
' Entreth Moros, counterfaiting a vaine gesture and a foolish countenance, syngtng 
the foote of many songs, as fools were wont.' Sir Joshua Reynolds : Shakespeare's 
fools are certainly copied from the life. The originals whom he copied were no 
doubt men of quick parts ; lively and sarcastic. Though they were licensed to say 
any thing, it was still necessary, to prevent giving offence, that everything they said 
should have a playful air; we may suppose, therefore, that they had a custom of 
taking off the edge of too sharp ft speech by covering it hastily with the end of an 
old song, or any glib nonsense that came into the mind. I know no other way of 
accounting for the incoherent words with which Sh. often finishes this Fool's speeches. 
Knight [after quoting this note by Sir Joshua Reynolds, continues] : But the words 
before us are not incoherent words. The expression ' so out went the candle/ &c, 
may have been proverbial to signify the desertion of a man by his mercenary friends 
when be is become a ( sheal'd peascod.' But Sh. found the almost identical image 
applied to the story of Lear as related by Spenser : ( But true it is, that, when the oil 
is spent, The light goes out and wick is thrown away ; So when he had resign'd his 

egiment, His daughter 'gan despise his drooping day.' 

80 KING LEAR [ACT I. SC iv. 

Lear. Are you our daughter ? 2 1 1 

Gon. Come, sir, 
I would you would make use of that good wisdom 
Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away 
These dispositions which of late transport you 215 

From what you rightly are. 

Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the 
horse ? Whoop, Jug, I love thee. 

212. Come, xtr,]Om.'Ff + ,Knt, Coll. ...transform Jen. Steev. Mai. Ec. Bos. 
Del. Dyce i, Sta. Wh. Ktly, Sch. Coll. Sing. Wh. Ktly. that...transforme 

213-216. Prose, Qq, Mai. Steev. Bos. Qq et cet. 

213. that] your?t+, Knt> Coll. Del. 218. Whoop. .thee] Italics, Ed. Sepa- 
Dyce i, Wh. Sch. rate line, Ff. 

214. Whereof] Wherewith Jen. conj. Jug,] lug Qq. Iugge F t F, 

215. which Jransport] Ff +, Cap. 7vF f F 4 . 

Knt, Del. Dyce i, Sta. Sch. which 

210. darkling] Staunton : This word which, like the Scotch darklins, implied 
in the dark, is found in the ancient comedy of Router Doister, III, Hi. [p. 41, ed. 
Sh. Soc] : ' He will go darklyng to his grave. 9 See also Mid. N. D. II, ii, 86. 
Wright : For the adverbial termination « -ling,' or « -long/ see Morris, English 
Accidence, p. 1 94, and compare 'flatlong,' Temp. II, i, 181. « Hedlynge' and 'hed- 
lynges * are found in the Glossary to the Wicliffite versions. 

214. fraught] Schmidt: Equivalent to freighted; usually followed by with; only 
in this passage by 'of.' 

215. dispositions] Compare ' antic disposition/ Ham. I, v, 172, and Macb. Ill, 
iv, 113. 

215. transport] In support of the Ff, Schmidt cites « Being transported by my 
jealousies to bloody thoughts.' — Wint. Tale t III, ii, 159. ' Ypu are transported by 
calamity.' — Cor. I, i, 77. 

218. Whoop . • • thee] Stkevens : This is, as I am informed, a quotation from 
the burthen of an old song. Halliwell: 'Jug* was the old nickname for Joan, 
and it was also a term of endearment. Edward Alleyn, the player, writing to his 
Wife in 1593, says : 'And, Jug, I pray you lett my orayng-tawny stokins of wolen be 
dyed a newe good blak against I com horn, to wear in winter.' So also, * If I be I, 
and thou be'st one, Tell me, sweet Jugge, how spell'st thou Jone.' — Cotgrave's Witt 
Interpreter, 1 67 1, p. 1 1 6. Moberly: He seems to mean, 'As things have got the 
wrong way forward, I know what fair lady I must pay my court to now.' « Jug* is 
a vulgar form of ( Jane,' and he expresses the idea present to his mind in the first 
grotesquely similar form which his memory suggests. [At the end of the edition 
of Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, printed in 1638, a song is given which begins : 
'Arise, arise, my Juggie, my Puggie,' and Juggie replies in the next verse, « Begon, 
begon, my Willie, my Billie.' In a note on the present passage, in his translation of 
Lear % Jordan says that ( Whoop' may mean either a shout or a bird, the hoopoo; 
and that 'Jug* may mean, first, the nickname for Joan; secondly, a pool or puddle 
[where did he find this meaning?] ; and thirdly, it may be an imperative of a verb 
to fug, which he informs us means to entice like a bird, especially to imitate the note 

ACT I, SC. 1V.J 



Lear. Does any here know me ? This Is not Lear. 
Does Lear walk thus ? speak thus ? Where are his eyes ? 220 
Either his notion weakens, his discernings 
Are lethargied — Ha! waking? 'tis not so. 
Who is it that can tell me who I am ? 

219-224. Dots... shadow.'] Prose, Qq, 
Mai. Steev. Bos. Coll. Sing. 

219, 220. Dots] Do's F,F 3 F 4 . Dos 
F t . Doth Qq, Glo. +, Dyce ii. 

219. Does... Lear ;] Rowe. Two lines, 

This] why this Qq, Jen. Steev. 
Mai. Ec. Bos. Coll. Sing. Dyce ii, Ktly. 

221. notion weakens] notion, weaknes 
Q,. notion, weak ruffe, Q 9 . 

his discernings] Ff + , Cap. Knt, 
Del. Dyce i, Sta. Glo. +, Mob. Sch. or 
his difcemings Qq et cet. 

222-223. Are....amt] Three lines, 

ending Ha / t Ktly (adopting 
the Qq). 

222. lethargied—] Rowe. Lethar* 
gied. Ff, Knt, Del. lethergie, Q t . leth* 

"&, Q a - 

Ha I waking ?] fleeping or wak- 
ing; ha! fure Qq, Mai. Steev. Bos. 
Coll. Sing. Ktly. 

Uis] sure 'tis Wh. (adopting the 
223-227. Who. ..daughters] Four lines, 

ending shadow t marks reason..., 

daughters. Steev. '78, '85. 

of a nightingale. These three meanings yield three interpretations : first, the usual 
one, as the refrain of a ballad ; second, as the answer to the foregoing question 

* May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse ?' and to be paraphrased 1 

* Gee-up, puddle I I love thee 1' and supposed to be addressed by the cart to the 
mud-hole into which it rolls back, thus drawing the horse after it ; and lastly, we 
have the interpretation adopted by the translator himself, with this explanation : 
Goneril having shown in her first speech to her father how foul her thoughts are, 
changes her tone when she next speaks to him, and cloaks her reproaches under the 
garb of filial love ; but the Fool detects her, and, designating her as a hoopoo, which 
is supposed to be a filthy bird, says to her : Sing, hoopoo, like a nightingale, the 
words * I love thee,' or, as in the translation : * Sing, Dreckhahn, wie 'ne Nachtigall : 
Ich liebe dich.'— Ed.] 

219-228. Does . • . father] Whether it be due to the incoherence of Lear's 
passion or to the sophistications of the compositor, these lines have given rise to 
much discussion among the early commentators. The later editors have been con- 
cerned chiefly with the metrical arrangement, and have little or nothing to say about 
the meaning of the passage. Roderick (Can. of Crit., p. 267, 1765, ed. vii) holds 
Lear's first speech (lines 219-223) to be ironical. Goneril has told him that he is 
transported beyond himself, and he ironically assents to it. To support this view,. 
Roderick changes * Ha 1 waking?' into 'or waking;' that is, 'This is not Lear,— 
whether in lethargy or waking — it is not Lear.' He would also change ' Who is it 
that can tell me ?' into * Who is it then can tell me ?' Here the irony ceases and 
serious resentment begins. ' If I were to be persuaded by the marks of (i. e. the 
distinction and respect due to) my sovereignty (as king), my knowledge (as an old 
man, of long experience) or my reason (as a man, one of the superior sex) that I 
had daughters, it would appear that I was falsely so persuaded. You are therefore 
a stranger, and I demand your name.' This interpretation of Roderick's needs no 
refutation. Heath denounces it as unnatural to a person in Lear's situation, just 


82 KING LEAR [act i. sc iv. 

[219-228. Does . • • father] 
then transported to the highest pitch of astonishment, and not yet sufficiently familiar* 
ised to his misfortunes, nor cool enough, to treat the author of them ironically. Heath 
himself interprets lines 221, 222 : * Either his apprehension is decayed, his faculty of 
discernment is buried under a lethargic sleep, or — here he was about to go on to the 
other alternative — vis : he is in his sober senses and broad awake, when the sudden 
whirl of passion on the bare imagination that what had passed is real, so overwhelms 
him that he breaks off: 'Hal what! that it should be possible that I am now 
awake ? It cannot be, 'tis impossible.' Warburton aroused the critics by his dog* 
matic assertion that we should read « sovereignty of knowledge' — t. e, the under- 
standing, like * sovereignty of reason' in /Jam., because his sovereignty or kingship 
would not enable Lear to judge whether or not these were his daughters. Hkath 
as usual flouts and routs Warburton, but without giving a much better interpretation 
of the phrase. He defines 'sovereignty* as that self-command which distinguishes 
the man in his senses from a lunatic or idiot : * If I should give credit to those 
marks I perceive in myself of being in my right senses, and endued with knowledge 
and reason, I should be persuaded I had daughters,' &c. Tyrwhitt says that the 
difficulty is ' to conceive how " the marks of sovereignty, of knowledge, and of 
reason" should be of any use to persuade Lear that he had or had not daughters. 
No logic could draw such a conclusion from such premises. This difficulty may be 
entirely removed by only pointing the passage thus : " for by the marks of sovereignty, 
knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded. — I had daughters. — Your name, 
fair gentlewoman?" The chain of Lear's speech being thus untangled, we can 
clearly trace the succession and connection of his ideas. The undutiful behaviour 
of his daughter so disconcerts him that he doubts by turns whether she is Goneril 
and whether he himself is Lear. Upon her first speech, he only exclaims, " Are you 
our daughter ?" Upon her going on in the same style, he begins to question his 
own sanity, and even his personal identity. He appeals to the bystanders, " Who is 
it that can tell me who I am?" I should be glad to be told. For (if I was to judge 
myself) by the marks of sovereignty, of knowledge, and of reason (which once dis* 
tinguished Lear, but which I have now lost), / should be false (against my own 
consciousness) persuaded (that I am not Lear). He then slides to the examina. 
tion of another distinguishing mark of Lear : " I had daughters." But not able, 
as it should seem, to dwell upon so tender a subject, he hastily recurs to his first 
doubt concerning Goneril: "Your name, fair gentlewoman?"' Of this note by 
Tyrwhitt, Johnson says that it is ' written with confidence disproportionate to the 
conviction which it can bring. Lear might as well know by the marks and tokens 
arising from sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, that he had or had not daughters, 
as he could know by anything else. But, says he, if I judge by these tokens, I find 
the persuasion false by which I long thought myself the father of daughters.' Mason 
says that by the marks of sovereignty Lear means those tokens of royalty which his 
daughters then enjoyed as derived from him. But Malone replies : * Lear had not 
parted with all the marks of sovereignty. In the midst of his prodigality to his 
children, he reserved to himself the name and all the additions to a king.' Staun- 
ton says that this passage is 'certainly obscure. Possibly the meaning may be 
restored by simply omitting the comma after " sovereignty," " — by the marks of 
sovereignty knowledge and reason" — i.e. of supreme or sovereign knowledge, &c.' 
Knight puts dashes, to indicate continued speech, after Lear's question, « Who is it 

ACT I, SC. iv.] 



Fool. Lear's shadow. 

* Lear. I would learn that ; for, by the marks of sover- 225 
♦eignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false per- 

* suaded I had daughters. 

* Fool. Which they will make an obedient father.* 
Lear. Your name, fair gentlewoman ? 

224-227. Lear's daughters'] Con- 
tinued to Lear, Qq, Pope, Theob. Han. 
Warb. Jen. Steev. '78, '85, '93, Mai. Ec. 
Bos. Coll. i. Three lines, ending maris 
...reason.. .daughters Pope, Theob. Han. 
Warb. Jen. Ec. Prose, Qq et cet. 

224. shadow.] fhadow} Qq, Pope, 
Theob. Han. Warb. Jen. Steev. Mai. 
Ec. Bos. Coll. i. shadow,— Sing. 

Fool. Lear s shadow.] Thus in 
Ff. Om. Rann. 

225-228. Lear. / would......father.] 

Steev. '73 (subs.) J would.. .father. Qq. 
Om. Ff, Rowe, Johns. Cap. Sch. 

225-227. /...daughters] Three lines, 
ending marks. ..reason. ..daughters Steev. 
'73. Ending sovereignty... reason... daugh- 

ters Dyce i. Ending by... reason. ..daugh* 

ters Ktly. Ending sovereignty .per* 

suaded. ..daughters Dyce ii. 

225. that] Om. Pope, Theob. Han. 
Warb. Ec. 

sovereignty] substantiality Jen. 

225-226. sovereignty, reason,] Of 

sovereignty, of knowledge, and of reason, 
Pope, Theob. Han. Ec. Of sovereignty 
of knowledge, and of reason, Warb. 

226. false] fast Jen. 

227. daughters.] daughters— Knt. 
228-229. Fool. Which.. .father. Lear.] 

Om. Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Ec. 

228. Which they will] Q,. Which 
they, will Q,Q t . Which of thee will Jen. 

that can tell me who I am ? — ' ; after the Fool's answer, ' Lear's shadow.— 9 ; and 
after « I should be false persuaded I had daughters — ', and defends his punctuation 
on the ground that the Fool interrupts Lear with the answer, ' Lear's shadow,' and 
that Lear continues to speak without reference to the Fool's interposition, and that 
the Fool in the same way continues the thread of his comment : ( Which they will 
make an obedient father.' Here * which* refers to ' shadow.' In this interpretation 
Knight follows Douce (ii, 147). A passage' of such defective metre as this could 
not escape Walker; accordingly (Crit. i, 4) he gives, line 221, 'Either his motion 
[sic. Probably a misprint.] weakens, or 's discern ings ;' and, following the Qq in 
lines 222-227, he thus arranges, and changes : ' — Sleeping or waking ? — Ha ! || Sure 
'tis not so. || Who is't [omitting that] can tell me who I am ? — Lear's shadow ? — 1| 
I would learn that; for by the marks of sov'reignty, || Knowledge and reason, I 
should be false persuaded || [That] I had daughters.' Lettsom, Walker's admirable 
editor, referring to Walker's adoption of the text of the Qq, says : ' It appears to me 
that just here the Qq give an unsophisticated text, though one disfigured by some 
palpable blunders, while in the Folio we have a text derived from a good original, 
but sophisticated in a blundering way for the sake of the metre.' Schmidt : Per- 
haps there is here a real gap in the Ff, but the lines which the Qq offer in its place 
are too questionable to be adopted in the text. 

228. Which] Steevens : This is used with two deviations from present language : 
it is referred to the pronoun /, and it is employed for whom. Douce, as we have 
seen in the preceding note, followed by Knicht, Singer, and Hudson, refers 
4 which ' to ' shadow.' Moberly, with more probability, explains it as an instance 
of the relative as the commonest connective used improperly. 

8 4 


[ACT 1 , 8C. iv. 

Gon. This admiration, sir, is much o' th' savour 
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you 
To understand my purposes aright ; 
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise. 
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires; 
Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd, and bold. 
That this our court, infefted with their manners. 
Shows like a riotous inn ; epicurism and lust 
Makes it more like a tavern or a brothel 
Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak 



230-248. Prose, Qq. 
230. This admiration, sir,] Come fir, 
this admiration Qq. Come, sir; This 
admiration Jen. Steev. Mai. Bos. 
o* th 1 ] of the Qq, Jen. 
savour] favour (X, Cap. Steev. 
Mai. Ec. Bos. Coll. i, ii, Dyce i, Del. i. 
Sta. Wh. Glo. Mob. 

232. To] Om. Qq. 

233. As, should] Q t . As you 
are old and reuerend t Jhould Q f . As you 
are Old, and Reuerend,fhould Ff, Knt, 
Coll. Del. Dyce, Wh. Sch. You, as you 
are old and reverend, should Rowe, Cap. 
You, as you* re old and rev 1 rend, should 


233. you should] Om. Steev. conj. 

234. a hundred] a 100. Q,. onehun* 

235. debosh'd] deboyft Qq. debauch' & 
Pope+, Cap. Steev. Mai. Ec. Bos. Coll. 
Del. i, Dyce ii, Huds. 

237. riotous] Om. Steev. conj. 

238. Makes it more] Ff, Sch. make 
more Qq. Make it more Rowe et cet 

a brother] brothell Qq. 

239. graced] graced Ff. great Qq. 
The] Om. Pope, Theob. Han* 


230. admiration] Astonishment. See Ham. I, ii, 192 : * Season your admiration 
for a while.' 

230. savour] Capei.L: 'Whether the word of some old editions be favour or 
favour is hard pronouncing ; nor is there much choice between them in this place.' 
H favour be adopted, Steevens rightly explains it as complexion. Schmidt deserts 
the Ff and follows Jane Bell's Quarto ! Because, as he says, savour bears no other 
meaning in Sh. than smell. But this is an assertion which I am afraid it would be 
hard to prove, so great is the confusion arising between the long /and/ In all 
the passages where the word is used, there is, as Capell says of the present, not 
much choice between favour and favour, and probably a master of fence, like 
Schmidt, could successfully uphold either. 

233. you should] The omission of 'you* in the Ff cannot be justified, says 
Schmidt, by other examples in Sh., but its insertion lames the metre. 

235. debosh'd] The old spelling of debauched, of which word, Wedgwood says 
that the radical idea seems to be to throw out of course, from bauche, a row, rank, 
or course of stones, or bricks, in building. 

237-238. epicurism . • . lust, • • . tavern • . . brothel] An instance of what 
Corson calls a respective construction. The first word refers to the third and the 
second to the fourth. See Ham. IV, vii, 82. 

239. graced] WaRburton: A palace graced by the presence of a sovereign. 
But Schmidt {Lex.) interprets it better as ' full of grace, dignified, honourable.' 

acti,sc.Iv.] KING LEAR 85 

For instant remedy. Be then desired 240 

By her, that else will take the thing she begs,^ 
A little to disquantity your train, 
And the remainder, that shall still depend, 
To be such men as may besort your age, 
Which know themselves and you. 
Lear. Darkness and devils I — 245 

240. then] thou Qq. Del. Dyce, Sta. Wh. Cam. Huds. Sch. 

242. A little] Of fifty Pope +, Jen. that Q s . and Q, et cet 

243. remainder] remainders Ff+, 245. devils] DeuilsQ,. />iuelsQJF t . 
Sch. Divels F a . 

245. Which] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Coll. 

242. A little] Pops changed this to Of fifty, on the ground that Lear shortly 
afterwards specifies this as the number that was to be cut of, and yet Goneril had no- 
where specified it. Steevkns explains the difficulty that Pope finds (of course, not 
without a stfeer at Pope) by assuming that some one tells Lear how many of his 
followers he is to lose, in the few minutes that Lear is absent from the scene between 
lines 283 and 287. ' Goneril,' adds Steevens, ' with great art, is made to avoid men* 
Honing the limited, number, and leaves her father to be informed of it by accident 
which she knew would be the case as soon as he left her presence. 9 [Surely, a sim- 
ple oversight on Shakespeare's part, or a trick his memory played him. In the old 
play of' King Leir, GonoriU says she has ' restrained halfe his portion.' See Ap- 
pendix. — Ed.] 

242. disquantity] Delius: Compare « disnatured,' in line 277 of this scene. 
[And other instances of similar words in Abbott, $ 439.] 

243-244. the remainder ... to be] For similar instances, where the noun and 
infinitive are used as subject or object, see Abbott, $ 354. Schmidt supports the 
Folio text by citing Cymb. I, i, 129 : * The gods protect you ! And bless the good 
remainders of the court.' 

243. depend] Warburton interprets * continue in service ;' or, as Wright says, 
• that shall still remain dependents,' but Schmidt denies this meaning, and maintains 
with Deuus that the phrase signifies : ' this shall still be one of the conditions, that 
they are men as may besort your age/ &c. * Even if dependant means a retainer, a 
servant, the verb depend, used absolutely, never means to serve, to be a in a person's 
service, but it indicates the opposite of personal freedom, the position of a subject 
and bondman. " A life so stinkingly depending," in Afeas. for Afeas, III, ii, 28, 
means, a life which is the slave of disgusting coarseness. The remark " you depend 
upon Lord Paris," in Tro. and Cres. t which, of course, means you are one of the 
servants of Lord Paris, — a simple menial perverts by the reply, " I depend upon the 
lord." If " that," in the present passage, be a relative, the phrase can only mean : 
that shall continue to remain servants, not their own masters.' [Which is exactly 
what Wright says it means ; and is not only the simpler explanation of the two, 
but wholly avoids any grammatical difficulty. According to Schmidt's interpreta- 
tion the sentence is an anacoluthon, — there is no verb for ' remainder,' and he has 
to suggest that, grammatically, ' To be such men,' should be ' On their being such 
men.' — Ed.] 




[aCt i, sc. iv. 

Saddle my horses ! call my train together ! — 246 

Degenerate bastard ! I'll not trouble thee. 
Yet have I left a daughter. 

Gon. You strike my people, and your disordered rabble 
Make servants of their betters. 250 

Enter ALBANY. 

Lear. Woe, that too late repents, — O, sir, are you come ? 
Is it your will ? Speak, sin — Prepare my horses.— 
Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend, 
More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child 
Than the sea-monster ! 

Alb. Pray, sir, be patient 

Lear. Detested kite ! thou liest 
My train are men of choice and rarest parts, 


249-250. You...6etters.] Verse, Rowe 
ii. Prose, QqFf. 

250. Enter Albany.] Enter Duke. Qq. 

251. Scene xv. Pope+, Jen. The 
rest of the Scene, except lines 340, 341, 
is prose in Qq. 

Woe,...repents, — ] Cap. Woe!... 
repents — Rowe+. Woe, .. .repents .• Ff. 
We that too late repent' s, Q f . We that 
too late repent' s vs; Q t . Fool! that too 
late repent' st — Jen. Woe's him that too 
late repents— Ktly. 

[To Alb. Rowe. 

251. O, sir. ..comet] Om. Ff, Rowe,. 
Pope, Sch. 

252. will t. ..Prepare my] Johns, will, 
/peak, Sirt Prepare my Ff+. will 
that wee prepare any Qq. 

255-256. Alb. Pray, sir, Be patient. 
Lear.] Om. Qq. 

255. sir] you, sir Han. 

256. [To Gon. Rowe. 

256-257. liest. My train are] lift my 
traine, and Q l . lejfen my traine and 


254. thee] For other instances of the use of ' thee ' for thyself, see Abbott, $ 223. 

255. sea-monster] Upton (Crit. Obs., p. 203, ed. ii) observes that this is tho 
hippopotamus, the hieroglyphical symbol of impiety and ingratitude; and suggests : 

Than V th' sea-monster/ Hudson: But that beast never lives in the sea; it is a 
ritvr-monster. If the poet had any particular animal in view, I suspect it was the one 
that behaved so ungently at old Troy, — alluded to in Mer. of Ven. Ill, ii, 57. WRIGHT 
[who gives a fuller quotation than Upton from Sandys] : Sandys ( Travels, p. 105, 
ed. 1637) gives a picture said to be portrayed in the porch of the temple of Minerva 
at Sais, in which is the figure of a river-horse, denoting * murder, impudence, vio- 
lence, and injustice ; for they say that he killeth his Sire, and ravisheth his owne 
dam. 9 His account is evidently taken from Plutarch's /sis and Osiris, and Sh. may 
have read it in Holland's translation, p. 1300; but why he should call the river-horse 
a * sea-monster ' is not clear. It is more likely that by the sea-monster he meant the 
whale. See IV, ii, 49, 50 ; Alt's Well, IV, iii, 249 ; Tro. and Cres. V, v, 23. 

257. choice and rarest] Wright thinks that the superlative termination belongs 
to both adjectives, and refers to Abbott, § 398. 

ACTi,SC.iv.] KING LEAR 87 

That all particulars of duty know, 

And in the most exaft regard support 

The worships of their name. — O most small fault, 260 

How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show I 

Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature t/ 

From the fix'd place ; drew From my heart all love 

And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear 1 

Beat at this gate, that let thy folly in 265 

And thy dear judgement out! — Go, go, my people. 

Alb. My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant 
Of what hath moved you. 

Lear. It may be so, my lord. — 

*6o. The] Their FJ? A . my people! Mai. conj. 

name] names Rowe+ . 267. I am,. J am] rm...rm Pope+ » 

262. Which] that Qq, Glo. + , Mob. Dyce ii, Huds. 

264. Lear, Lear, Lear/] Lear, Lear / 268. Of what., you.] Om. Qq. 

Qq, Han. Jen. lord.] Lord, Qq, F,F S F 4 . lord— 

265. [Striking his head. Pope. Rowe+, Jen. Knt. 

266. dear] clear Anon * 268-271. //. .. fruitful ;] Three lines, 
Go.. .people.] goe, goe, my people t ending ao/wr, hear;. ..if. ..fruitful I Mai. 

Qq. Go, go; my people I Q 3 . Go % go:— Steev. Bos. Coil. iii. 

260. worships] Dyce: (Qy) ' The worships of their names} or 'The worship of 
their name.' ? Hudson : Worship [which is Hudson's reading and an emendation 
of Collier's (MS)] was often used in much the same sense as honour. One of the 
commonest misprints in the old copies is that of the plural for the singular. [I can- 
not think that the plural is a misprint here. See < As needful in our loves,' Ham. I, 
i, 173, and Clarendon's note there cited. — Ed.] 

262. engine] Edwards (Can. of Crit., p. 202, ed. vii) : Alluding to the rack. 
Stebvens: Compare Beau, and Fl., The Night Walker, IV, v: 'Their souls shot 
through with adders, torn on engines.' Wright : Chaucer has ' engined' for ' rack* 
ed v * Nonne Prestes Tale, 16546 : * And right anoon the mynistres of that toun Han 
hent the carter, and so sore him pyned, And eek the hostiller so sore engyned.' In 
Temp. II, i, 161, the word is used of a warlike machine. 

266. dear] This word, which here means choice, precious, is used by Sh. to sig- 
nify qualities the very opposite of dear, beloved, heartsome, such as * dearest foe,' 
Ham. I, ii. 182 ; 'my father hated his [Orlando's] father dearly,' As You Like It, 
I, iii, 34 ; * in terms so bloody and so dear,' Twel. N. V, i, 74 ; ' dearest groans of a 
mother,' Airs Well, IV, v, 11; 'dear guiltiness,' Love's Lab. V, ii, 801, &c. &c. 
Craik (in a note on ' dearer than thy death,' Jul. Cas. Ill, i, 196) supposes that the 
notion of love properly involved in ' dear,' having become generalized into that of 
a strong affection of any kind, then passed into that of such an emotion the very 
reverse of love. In such phrases as ' dearest foe ' and ' hating dearly ' the word 
need not be understood as implying more than strong or passionate emotion. This 
explanation of Craik's led the way to the concise definition given in the Clarendon 
edition of Ham. : that ' dear ' is used of whatever touches us nearly in love or hate, 

88 KING LEAR [act I, SC. W. 

Hear, Nature, hear; dear goddess, hear! 

Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend 270 

269. Hear] Heart F,F a . karke Qq. Rowe, Pope, Han. Sch. 

Nature,., goddess] Nature / hear, 269. A*ir/]Om.Qq. hear a father I 

dear goddess Cap. Wh. Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Cap. Ec. 

hear; dear] Theob. heart deere 269,275. Lines end Suspend. ..make 

QqF t F t . hear dear F s . hear, dear F 4 , ...convey..*rgans...never...teem, Ktly. 

joy or sorrow. To which, I think, may be added Singer's observation that it 
imports in general the excess, the utmost, the superlative of that, whatever it may 
be, to which it is applied. — Ed. 

269. Davies (Dram, Misc. ii, 180) : I have heard certain critics complain that, in 
pronouncing this denunciation, Garrick was too deliberate, and not so quick in the 
emission of his words as he ought to have been ; that he did not yield to that im- 
petuosity which the situation required. . . . Garrick rendered the curse so terribly 
affecting to the audience, that, during his utterance of it, they seemed to shrink 
from it as from a blast of lightning. His preparation for it was extremely affecting ; 
his throwing away his crutch, kneeling on one knee, clasping his hands together, and 
lifting his eyes toward heaven, presented a picture worthy the pencil of Raphael. 
• . . Dr Franklin [the translator of Sophocles] thinks nothing can exceed the bit- 
terness of CEdipus's execration of his two sons, except perhaps this curse of Lear. 
Boaden [Life ofKemble, i, 378) : In January [1788] Kemble acted Lear [in Tate's 
version, to the Cordelia of Mrs. Siddons]. I have seen him since in the character, 
but he never again achieved the excellence of that night. Subsequently he was too 
elaborately aged, and quenched with infirmity the insane fire of the injured father. 
The curse, as he then uttered it, harrowed up the soul ; the gathering himself together, 
with hands convulsively clasped, the increasing fervour and rapidity, and the suffoca- 
tion of the concluding words, all evinced consummate skill and original invention. 
The countenance, too, was finely made up, and in grandeur approached the most 
awful impersonation of Michael Angelo. Scott ( On Boaden' s Life of Kemble, 
Quarterly Review, April, 1826) : There was visible in Kemble's manner, at times, 
a sacrifice of energy of action to grace. We remember this observation being 
made by Mrs Siddons herself, who admired her brother in general as much as she 
loved him. Nor shall we easily forget the mode in which she illustrated her mean- 
ing. She arose and placed herself in the attitude of one of the old Egyptian 
statues ; the knees joined together, and the feet turned a little inwards. She placed 
her elbows close to her sides, folded her hands, and held them upright, with the palms 
pressed to each other. Having made us observe that she had assumed one of the 
most constrained, and, therefore, most ungraceful positions possible, she proceeded to 
recite the curse of King Lear on his undutiful offspring in a manner which made 
hair rise and flesh creep, and then called on us to remark the additional effect which 
was gained by the concentrated energy which the unusual and ungraceful position 
in itself implied. T. R. Gould ( The Tragedian* an Essay on the Histrionic Genius 
of Junius Brutus Booth, p. 142, New York, 1868): It is customary to call this im- 
precation on Goneril « the curse.' This word roughens the sense of it unnecessarily. 
It is in substance a pagan prayer that she may be childless ; but * if she must teem/ 
that her child may be a ( thwart disnatured torment to her ;' that she may suffer the 
same kind and quality of anguish which she is now inflicting on her father. The 

act x, sc. iv.] KING LEAR 89 

/ To make this creature fruitful; 271 

Into her womb convey sterility; 
Dry up in her the organs of increase, 
And from her derogate body never spring 
A babe to honour her I If she must teem, 275 

Create her child of spleen, that it may live 
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her. 
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth ; 

277. thwart] thourt Qq. 

disnatured ]difnatur i dW. difuetur'd Qq. dif ventured Q,. 

principle of the prayer is * an eye for an eye/ Putting ' Jehovah ' instead of * Nature, 
a Jew might have uttered it. Booth began it as a solemn adjuration to the unseen 
power of Nature. The indignant bitterness in the terms of imprecation seemed as 
if it was converted out of sweetest images of what a child should be, that lay in the 
core of his fatherly heart. This double action of his mind, in the agony which it 
involved, swayed and shook the kneeling figure, and lent his 'voice a wild vibration 
that drew involuntary sympathy and awe. The heart followed him as he arose and 
ran out with extended arms. • . . [When he re-enters, on the word ' resume,' line 303] 
he cast the whole energy of his royal will, with a volumed, prolonged, and ringing 
intonation. His very figure seemed to dilate with majesty. 

269. Nature • . • goddess] White thinks that the arrangement in the present 
text, in comparison with his (see Textual Notes), loses in freedom, force, and 

274. derogate] Warburton: Unnatural. Heath: Here, it means whatever 
deviates from the course of nature. Edwards (apud Eccles) : Degenerate. John- 
son: Rather, degraded [Thus, Dyce, Gloss.], blasted. M alone: Shrunk, wasted. 
See Bullokar's Eng . Expositor, 162 1, * Derogate, To empaire, diminish, or take 
away.' Delius : Dishonored, in opposition to the following ' honour her.' Like 
many adjectives in -ate it stands for derogated. Schmidt (Lex.) : Depraved, cor- 
rupt. Wright: Dishonoured, degraded. Todd, in his edition of Johnson's Die* 
tionary, quotes from Sir Thomas Elyot's Governor (1565), fol. 102 : « That he shoulde 
obteyne, yf he mought, of the kyng his father his gracious pardon, whereby no lawe 
or iustice should be derogate.' [Bullokar's definition applies to this use of * derogate ' 
in Elyot's Governor.] 

277. thwart] Henderson : This word is found, as an adjective, in Promos and 
'Cassandra, 1578: * Sith fortune thwart doth crosse my joys with care/ Eccles refers 
to Milton, Par. Lost, viii, 132, and x, 1075, as instances of its use as an adjective. 
Schmidt : As an adj. nowhere else in Sh. 

277. disnatured] Steevens : Wanting in natural affection. So Daniel, Hymen's 
Triumph [II, iv, p. 291, ed. 1623 — Wright] : « I am not so disnatured a man, or so 
ill borne to disesteeme her loue.' Henderson, from the text of Q,Q a » conjectured 

278. brow of youth] Wright : Youthful brow. Compare * mind of love ' for 
4 loving mind ' in Mer. of Ven. II, viii, 42. Similarly « brow of justice,' I Hen. IV: 
IV, iii, 83 ; « Mind of honour,' Meas.for Meas. II, iv, 179; « thieves of mercy,' Ham. 


90 KING LEAR [act I, sc. iv. 

With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks ; 

Turn all her mother's pains and benefits 28c 

To laughter and contempt ; that she may feel 

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is 

To have a thankless child ! — Away, away ! [Exit. 

j J Alb.. Now, godsthat we adore, whereof comes this ? 

fc * T^ Gon. NeveraffliZTyourself to know the cause, 285 

But let his disposition have that scope 

That dotage gives it 

Re-enter Lear. 

Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a clap ? 
Within a fortnight? 
Alb. What's the . matter sir ? 289 

279. cadent] accent Qq. candent 285. the cause] more of it F gt Johns. 

Thcob. Warb. acrid or ardent Anon * Knt. Del. Dyce. i, Sch. of it F,F S F^ 

281. feet] fee/e, thatjhe mayfee/e, Q,. Rowe + . of what Han* 

283. Away, away/] goe t goc, my peo- 287. That] As Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 
pUt Qq, Pope+. Knt, ColL i, Del. Dyce i, Sch. 

[Exit] Om. Qq. Re-enter Lear.] Jen. Enter 

284. Now..Jhist] Two lines, Ff, Lear. FT. Om. Qq. 
Rowe. 289. What 5] What is Qq. 

whereof] wherefore Johns. 

IV, vi, 19; 'time of scorn,' Oth. IV, ii, 54; 'mole of nature,' Ham. I, iv, 24; 
« spirit of health,' Ham. I, iv, 40. [And many other instances in Abbott, § 423.] 

279. cadent] Steevens: Falling. Moberly: The effect of an unusual word 
formed from the Latin or Creek is often very great in poetry. Thus, Milton speaks 
of the « glassy, cool, translucent wave,' and Wordsworth of the river, 'diaphanous 
because- it travels slowly,' both words being far more effective than the common 
word « transparent.' 

280. her mother's pains and benefits] Roderick (Can. ofCrit. p. 268, ed. vii) 
interprets this as referring to the pains of childbirth, and to the benefits both of 
nursing and instruction ; and believes that ' a most exquisite stroke of nature ' is lost 
unless we perceive, by the use of • one little syllable, — her,' that Sh. talks of the 
supposed child as a Daughter, not a son. Malone very properly says that ' mother's 
pains ' refer to maternal cares, and that ' benefits ' means good offices, her kind and 
beneficent attention to the education of her offspring, and that ' her' refers to Goneril 

282. How sharper, &c] Malone : So Psalms, cxl, 3 : < They have sharpened 
their tongues like a serpent ; adders' poison is under their lips.' Moberly : We 
should have to go to the book of Deuteronomy to find a parallel for the concentrated 
force of this -curse. Can it be Lear who so sternly and simply stabs to the very 
inward heart of woman's blessedness, leaving his wicked daughter blasted and 
scathed for ever by his withering words ? 

2$g. Within a fortnight] Eccles conjectures that this may refer to that portion 


ACT I, SC. iv.] 



Lear. I'll tell thee. — Life and death ! I am ashamed 290 

That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus ; 
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce, 
Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee! 
Th' untented woundings of a father's curse 
Pierce every sense about thee ! Old fond eyes, 295 

Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck ye out 
And cast you with the waters that you lose, 
To temper clay. Ha ! * is it come to this ? * 
Let it be so. I have another daughter, 

290. rU...*shamed] Rowe. Two 
lines, Ff. 

[To Gon. Theob. 

292. which"] that Qq. 

293. Should..... Jhee f] Rowe. Two 
lines, Ff. 

thee worth them. Blasts] Cap. 
thee worth them, JBlasUs.Ti. the worft 

293. 294. upon thee! TV untented] 
Theob. vpon thee: TV vntentedYi. vpon 
the vntented Q,. vpon the vntender Q^ 

294. untented] untender Pope. 

295. Pierce] peru/e Q^ 
sense] fence Warb. 

thee! Old] Theob. thee. Old 
Ff. the old Q E . theoldeQ^. 

296. this cause] thee once FJ?JF 4 . her 

once Rowe, Pope, Han. 

296. ye] you Qq, Cap. Steev. Mai. Ec 
Bos. Coll. Del. i, Dyce i, Wh. Ktly. 

297. east you] you caft Qq. 

lose] loo/e F t F^ Sta. mahe Qq, Jen. 

298. To temper clay] Separate line, 
Sing. Ktly, Sch. 

Hal this] Pope. Hal Ff, 

Rowe, Knt, Coll. i, Del. i, Dyce i, Wh. 
Sing. Ktly, Sch. yea, Vft come to this I Q t . 
yea, is it come to this t Q,, Glo.+, Mob. 

298, 299. To. .jo] Pope. One line, 
Ff, Rowe, Knt. 

299. Let it be so.] Om. Qq. 

I have another] yet haue I left a 
Qq, Mai. Steev. Bos. Glo.+, Mob. Del. 
ii, Coll. iii. yet I have left a Steev. '7$, 
>*S, Ec 

only of the current month in which Lear has been staying with Albany and Goneril, 
and that he may haye already taken up his abode many times alternately with both 
of his daughters ; or else, these words might have reference to a future period, at 
the end of which such a number of his knights were to be dismissed. Some such 
explanations as these Eccles deems necessary in order to avoid the absurdity of sup* 
posing that the news of Lear's brutal treatment could have reached Cordelia, and 
that she could have invaded England with a large army within a fortnight after her 
dismissal from her father's presence. [See Appendix, Daniel's Time-Analysis, p. 410.] 
294. untented] Theobald: A wounding of such a sharp, inveterate nature that 
nothing shall be able to tent it — i.e. search the bottom, and help in the cure of it 
Steevens : It may possibly signify here such wounds as will not admit of having a 
tent put into them. [For 'tent,' see Ham. II, ii, 573.] 

296. beweep] For instances when the prefix be is used to give a transitive signifi- 
cation to .verbs that, without this prefix, must require prepositions, see. Abbott, §438. 

297. lose] Staunton justifies loose of F x as meaning to discharge, and I am by 
no means sure that this reading is not to be preferred. 

299. Walker (Crit. ii, 284) interprets yet of the Qq as meaning as yet, and cites 
similar instances. 



[act I, SC. iv. 

Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable. 300 

When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails 

She'll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find 

That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think 

I have cast off for ever. * Thou shalt, I warrant thee.* 

[Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants. 

Gon. Do you mark that, my lord ? 305 

Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril, 
To the great love I bear you, — 

Gon. Pray you, content — What, Oswald, ho ! — 
You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master. 

Fool. Nuncle Lear* nuncle Lear, tarry; take the Fool 310 

with thee. — 

A fox, when one has caught her, 

And such a daughter, 

300. Who] whom Qq* 

302. flay] Jen. fleaQff. fleyQ^ 

304. Thou....thee.] Om. Ff +, Knt, 
ColL Sing. Dyce i, Del. Wh. 

[Exeunt...] Exeunt Lear, Kent, 
Gen. and Att Capell. Om. Q s . Exit 
Q t Ff. Exit Lear and attendants. Rowe. 

305. Scene xvi. Pope +, Jen. 

my lord] Om. Ff +, Knt, Sing. 
Dyce i, Del. ii, Ktly, Sch. 

307-309. To the...masler.] As in Ff» 
The lines end content.. .. ho /... .master. 
Cap. content. — ...fool,.. .master. Walker. 

307. you, — ] Theob. you, Q,. you. 

308, 309. Pray. ..more] Come Jir no 
more, you, more Q^ Come Jir, no more ; 
you, moreQf 

What...master\ One line, Ktly. 

308. content] be content Rowe +, Jen. 

309. [To the Fool. Johns. 

310. Nuncle.... J*ear] Separate line, 
Ff, Rowe. 

take] and take Qq, Jen. Steer. 
Mai. Ec. Bos. Coll. Del. Sing. Dyce i, 
Sta. Wh. Glo. Ktly, Wr. 

311. 312. with thee. A fox] with a 
fix Qq. 

300. comfortable] Walker (Crit. 1,98)5 This word, and in like manner uncom» 
fortable and dis comfortable t are uniformly applied to a person, or to a thing per- 
sonified, the idea of will and purpose being always implied in them. [See also 
Walker (Crit. i, 183); Abbott, §3; Ham. I, \, 57; Afacd. II, i, 36; Rom. 6* 
Jul. V, iii, 148.] Wright : Compare also the expression in the Communion 
Service : ' The most comfortable sacrament of the body and blood of Christ 1 

304. warrant] Walker ( Vers. 65) : This is usually a monosyllable. Compare 
Ham. I, ii, 242. [See also Abbott, $ 463.] 

305. Coleridge : Observe the baffled endeavor of Goneril to act on the fears of 
Albany, and yet his passiveness, his inertia; he is not convinced, and yet he is afraid 
of looking into the thing. Such characters always yield to those who will take the 
trouble of governing them, or for them. Perhaps the influence of a princess, whose 
choice of him had royalized his state, may be some little excuse for Albany's 

312-316. In reference to the rhymes in this jingle of the Fool, Ellis (p. 963) 

act J,] KING LEAR 93 

Should sure to the slaughter, 

If my cap would buy a halter. 315 

So the Fool follows after. {Exit. 

Gon. This man hath had good counsel! A hundred 
knights I 
Tis politic and safe to let him keep 
At point a hundred knights 1 Yes, that on every dream, 
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike, 320 

He may enguard his dotage with their powers 
And hold our lives in mercy. — Oswald, I say ! 

lib. Well, you may fear too far. 

Gon. Safer than trust too far. 

Let me still take away the harms I fear, 

Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart 325 

What he hath utterM I have writ my sister ; 
If she sustain him and his hundred knights, 

315. buy] by F,. Jen. Ec. 

316. [Exit.] Om. Qq. 323. fear too far.'] fear too far; FJF 4 . 
3x7-328. This...unjitness] Om. Qq. fear too far;— Rowe + (fear too fear 

317. This...knights /] Rowe. Two Rowe i). 

lines, Ff. trust too far] trust; Steev. '93. 

318. 9 Tu] ViVHan. 325. taken] harm'd Pope, Theob. 

319. At point] Om. Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Sing. ii. 
Han. Warb. 327. she] she'll F S F 4 + . . 

322. in mercy] at mercy Pope +, 

says that the last three are very remarkable, especially the last, including the word 

* halter.! When this rhyme occurs in modern ludicrous verse it is usual to say arter, 
darter. [I cannot reproduce these words in Glossic, and therefore roughly indicate 
the sounds. — Ed.] Whether any such ludicrous pronunciation then prevailed is not 
clear, but outer would save every case, as * halter* might well sink to hooter, [In 
two other instances : Tarn. theShr. I, i, 245,246; and Wint. Tale, IV, i, Chorus, 27, 
28, Sh., according to Ellis, rhymes daughter and after. In the former of these two, 
the rhyme, as here in Lear, may be meant to be ludicrous. See also I, v, 48, 49.] 

319. At point] Schmidt {Lex.) : Completely, in full preparation for any emer- 
gency. [See III, i, 33, and Macb. IV, iii, 135, and notes.] 

320. buzz] Compare « buzzers,' Ham. IV, v, 86. 

32 x. enguard] Abbott, §440: This is here used in its proper sense of en- 

322. In mercy] Malone : In misericordid is the legal phrase. 

325. taken] Capell: This imports — taken with harm, i. e. o'er-taken. Moberly: 

* Not have constantly to fear being overtaken myself. 9 Singer (ed. ii) : It is evident 
that the context requires harnCd. The compositor's eye glancing on the preceding 
line, he has put ' taken* for the proper word. 



[act i, sc. iv. 

When I have show'd th* unfitness, — {Re-enter Oswald] 

How now, Oswald ! 

What, have you writ that letter to my sister ? 

Osw. Ay, madam. 330 

Gon. Take you some company, and away to horse ; 

Inform her full of my particular fear, 

And thereto add such reasons of your own 

As may compact it more. Get you gone ; 

And hasten your return. — {Exit Oswald] No, no, my lord, 3 3 £ 

This milky gentleness and course of yours 

Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon, 

328. unfitness, — ] unfitness — Rowe. 
unfitncfe. Ff. 

[Re-enter Oswald.] ColL Enter 
Steward. Ff. Om. Qq. 

328. 329. How now, Oswald I Wkai\ 
Gon. What Ofwald,ho. Ofaald. Heere 
Madam. Gon. What Qq. 

329. that] this Qq. 

330. Ay] I Ff. Yes Qq, Jen. Glo+, 

331. and] Om. Pope, Han. 

332. fear] f tares Qq. fears Q^, Pope, 
Theob. Han. Warb. Jen. 

334. Get] So get Pope +, Cap. Ec. 

Co, get Jen. 

335. And kasten..Jord] And hafien 
your returne: no, no, my Lord Ff. &• 
hafien your returne now my Lord Q f . 
and after your returne — now my Lord 


[Exit Oswald.] Exit Steward. 
Rowe. Om. QqFf. 

336. milky] milkie Q f . mildie Q,. 
gentleness and] gentle, easy Jen. 

337. condemn not] diflike not Qq. 
condemn it not Pope+, Cap. Steev. Ec. 
Bos. Knt i, Coll. ii, Del. i, Ktly, Dyce ii. 

pardon] your pardon Jen. 

332. particular] Capell interprets this as referring to * the business threaten' d 
by Lear ;' but Delius and Moberly (less correctly, I think) suppose that it means 
the * particulars of my fear.' Schmidt says that it is equivalent to personal, indi- 
vidual, private, and refers to II, iv, 289, and V, i, 30. 

334. compact] Johnson : Unite one circumstance with another so as to make a 
consistent account. Wright: Elsewhere used by Sh. only as a substantive or 

334. more] Malone: A dissyllable. So also Abbott, §480. To avoid this 
dissyllabic pronunciation of ' more/ Jennens inserted Go before ' Get you gone' — an 
emendation which was afterwards proposed by both Steevens and Walker. Dyce 
thinks most probably a word has dropped out of the line, ' though our old poets seem 
occasionally to have used ' more ' as a dissyllable. [See V, iii, 169.] 

336. milky gentleness and coarse] Schmidt : That is, this milky gentleness 
of your course. See I, i, 247. 

337. yet] Abbott, 5 483 : A conjunction like •yet* or « but,' implying hesitation, 
may naturally require a pause immediately after it ; and this pause may excuse the 
absence of an unaccented syllable, additional stress being laid on the monosyllable. 
[Would it not be better courageously to insert an ' it' in this line, as so many editors 
have done, including the conservative Dyce ? — Ed.] 

act I. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 95 

You are much more at task for want of wisdom 
Than praised for harmful mildness. 

Alb. How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell ; 340 

Striving to better, oft we mar what's welL, 

Gon. Nay, then — 

Alb. Well, well ; th' event [Exeunt. 

338. You are] Your art F t . yareQfr 341. better, oft] better ought, Qq. 
at task for] F t F_F 4 + t Cap. Jen. 342. then— ] then. Q f . 

Ec. Sch. at taske for F t . attasht for 343. well;] Steev. well, QqFf, Rowe 

Qj. alapt Q a . a ttash *dfor Mai. ct ceL +, Cap. Jen. 

339. praised] praife Qq. M 9 event.] the Hunt, Q,. 41* 
harmful] harmless Rowe ii, '«m/. Ff, Rowe i. 

Pope, Han. Jen. [Exeunt.] Exit. Q^. 

340. 341. How. ..well.] Prose in Q x . 

338. at task] Johnson : It is a common phrase now with parents and gover- 
nesses: 'I'll take you to task/ 1. e.l will reprehend and correct you. To be « at 
task,' therefore, is to be liable to reprehension and correction. Mason : Frequently 
used by Sh. in the sense of tax. Collier (ed. ii) : May we not speculate that after 
all the poet's word was attacked f Halllwell: My copies of Q, and Q, both 
read alapt. AttasVd, that is, taxed. If the word alapt be correct, it probably 
agrees with the context if explained in the same way. as attask'd; and the term 
alapat, in the following passage, seems used in a similar sense : ' And because the 
secret and privy boosome vices of nature are most offensive, and though least seene, 
yet most undermining enemies, you must redouble your endeavor, not with a wand 
to alapat and strike them, onely as lovers, loath to hurt, so as like a snake they may 
growe together, and gette greater strength againe. 9 — Melton's Sixe-fold Politician, 
p. 125. [Collier (Poet. Decameron, ii, 305) thinks that this Sixe-fold Politician 
was written not by Melton, but by John Milton, the poet's father. — Ed.] Abbott, 
§ 437 : At- perhaps represents the Old English intensive prefix ' of,' which is some- 
times changed into 'an-,' 'on-,' or 'a-. 9 But the word ['attask'd' of QJ is more 
probably a sort of imitation of the similar words, « attach ' and ' attack. 9 Mobsrly : 
Both ' task' and 'tax ' are really the same, as we may see from Wedgwood's quota- 
tion : ' Every ploughland was tasked at three shillings.' Cambridge Editors : In 
the imperfect copy of Q, [*. e. Q x — Ed.] in the British Museum, • attaskt for 9 was 
the original reading, but the first two letters of the word have been erased. In 
II, i, 123, 'lest, 9 the original reading, has been altered to 'best. 9 [As Schmidt 
says, there is no reason why atlaskfd of Q t should be preferred to the Folio. Dr 
Johnson's explanation, if any be needed, is ample.] 

341. M alone: Compare Son. ciii, lines 9, 10. 

343. event] Hudson: Albany shrinks from a word-storm with his helpmate, 
and so tells her, in effect : ' Well, let us not quarrel about it, but wait and see how 
your course works. 9 

96 KING LEAR [act I, sc. v. 

Scene V. Court before the same. 

Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool, 

Lear. Go you before to Gloucester with these letters. 
Acquaint my daughter no further with any thing you know 
than comes from her demand out of the letter. If your dili- 
gence be not speedy, I shall be there afore you. 

Kent. I will not sleep, my lord, till I have delivered your 5 

Fool. If a man's brains were in's heels, were't not in 
danger of kibes ? 

Lear. Ay, boy. 

Fool. Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall not go 10 

Scene v.] Scena Quinta Ff (Scaena Ec Bos. Coll. Del Ktly. 
F,). Scene xvii. Fope+, Jen. Scene 7. trains] brain Pope+*< 

XV. Ec. were] where Q x . 

Court...] Cap. A court-yard be- in f s] F lt Cap. Coll. Dyce, Wh 

longing to the Duke of Albany's Palace. Glo.+, Sch. ins F^ in his QqF,F 4 

Theob. et cet 

Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool.] Enter were*f\ Rowe. weri QqFf. 

Lear.Q,. Enter Lear, Kent, Gentleman, 10. prithee'] Knt. pretheQ t . prethee 

and Foole. Ff. Q.F.. prythee F M ¥^ 4 . 

4. afore] before Qq, Jen. jSteev. Mai. not] nereQq. ne'er Glo.+. 

I. Go you] Jennens holds that this is addressed to the Gentleman whose en- 
trance with Lear is marked in the Ff. ' It is plain,* he argues, ' that the letter to 
Regan was sent by Kent ; those to Glo'ster by another ; the order to Kent was left 
out/ — his text accordingly reads : ' Lear, [to a Gentleman] Go you before to Glo'ster 
with these letters. — You with this to my daughter Regan, [to Kent] Acquaint,' &c. 

I. Gloucester] Capell, followed by the subsequent editors, has removed this 
difficulty, expressed by Jennens in the preceding note, by supposing that this name 
refers to the city of Gloucester, ' as is evident from the " there " [in line 4] ; it is 
made the residence of Regan and Cornwall to give likelihood ' to their evening visit 
to Gloucester, II, iv, whose castle is in the neighborhood ; ' earls, in old time, had 
some dominion in the counties that gave them their titles, and resided there usually.' 

7. brains] Walker (Crit. i, 256): Brain, surely. Wright: Sh. uses both 
' brains ' and ' brain ' indiscriminately, except in such phrases as * to beat out the 
brains.' Here it is a singular, of which there is another, though doubtful, instance 
in Ham. Ill, i, 174, and a more certain one in AlTs Well, III, ii, 16: *The brains 
of my Cupid's knocked out.' Moberly : The fool laughs at Kent's promise of 
rapidity, and says, first, ' that when men's brains are in their heels ' (that is, when 
they have no more wit than is needed to go fast) ' they may get brain-chilblains ;' 
and secondly, ' that as Lear has no brains, he is in no such danger.' 

II. slip-shod] Eccles: The customary resource of those who are afflicted with 

AC1 I, SC. V.] 



Lear. Ha, ha, ha ! 12 

Fool. Shalt see, thy other daughter will use thee kindly ; 
for though she's as like this as a crab's like an apple, yet I 
can tell what I can tell. 15 

Lear. What canst tell, boy ? 

Fool. She will taste as like this as a crab does to a 
crab. Thou canst tell why one's nose stands i' th' middle 
on's face? 

Lear. No. , 20 

Fool. Why, to keep one's eyes of either side's nose, that 
what a man cannot smell out he may spy into. 

Lear. I did her wrong — 

Fool. Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell ? 

14. she's] JheesQ^. JheisQ^. shesF 9 . 
crab's] crab is Q x , Cap. Steev. 

Mai. Ec. Bos. Coll. Del. crabbe is Q,. 

15. can tell what"] con, what Qq. 

16. What canst] Why, what canft thou 
Qq, Jen. Steev. Var. Sing. Ktly, Glo.+, 

boy] my boy Qq, Jen. Steev. Var. 
Sing. Ktly, Glo. Wr. Mob. 

1 7. She will] Sheel Q x . SheS! Q,. 
does'] do's Ff. doth Qq. 

18. Thou canst] Thou canft not Qq, 
Jen. Sing, canft thou F S F 4 +. 

stands] standi Q x . 
9 th 1 ] in the Qq. 

19. on's] of his Qq, Mai. Steev. Bos. 
Sing, of one's Pope+, Cap. Jen. Ec 
Knt. on his Ktly. 

21. one's] onesFt. his Qq, Mai. Steev* 
Bos. Sing. Ktly. 

of] on Qq, Cap. Steev. Ec. Var 
Sing. Ktly. 

side's] fide his Q,, Mai. Steev* 
Bos. Sing. Ktly. side one's Rowe+, 
Cap. Jen. Ec. Knt. 

22. he] a Q s . 

23. wrong — ] Theob. wrong. Q,F1. 
wrong/ Q a . 

24. shell f]fhell. Qq. 

kibes. Singer paraphrases : For you show you have no wit in undertaking your 
present journey. 

13. kindly] Mason : Here it means both affectionately and like the rest of her 

14. crab] Wright: Compare Lyly, Euphues, p. 120 (eel Arber): 'The sower 
Crabbe hath the shew of an Apple as well as the sweet Pippin. 9 

15. can] Collier suggests that con of the Qq (1. e. know) may be the right reading. 
19. on's] See I, iv, 98. 

21. of] Abbott, § 175: 'Of/ signifying proximity of any kind, is sometimes 
used locally in the sense of on. 

23. I did her wrong] Weiss (p. 281): The beautiful soul of Cordelia, that is 
little talked of by herself, and is but stingily set forth by circumstance, engrosses our 
feeling in scenes from whose threshold 'her filial piety is banished. We know what 
Lear is so pathetically remembering ; the sisters tell us in their cruellest moments ; it 
mingles with the midnight storm a sigh of the daughterhood that was repulsed. In 
the pining of the Fool we detect it. Through every wail or gust of this awful sym- 
phony of madness, ingratitude, and irony, we feel a woman's breath. 

9 a 


Lean No. 25 

Fool. Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a 

Lear. Why ? 

Fool. Why, to put 's head in ; not to give it away to his 
daughters, and leave his horns without a case. 30 

Lear. I will forget my nature. So kind a father! — Be 
my horses ready ? 

Fool. Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why 
the seven stars are jio moe than seven is a pretty reason. 

Lear. Because they are not eight ? 35 

Fool. Yes, indeed ; thou wouldst make a good Fool. 

Lear. To take 't again perforce ! Monster ingratitude ! 

Fool. If thou wert my Fool, nuncle, Fid have thee beaten 
for being old before thy time. 

Lear. How's that ? 40 

Fool. Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst 
been wise. 

29. puts] Ff+, Jen. Wh. Cam. Sch. 35. eight f] Cap. eight. QqFf +, Jen. 
put his Qq et cet Sch. 

to his] vnto his Q,. 36. indeed] Om. Qq. 

30. daughters] daughter Qq. 37. take 7] take it Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. 

31. father f] Rowe. father; Qq. Fa* Knt, Coll. Del. 

ihert Ff, Sch. Monster] Monfter, Qq. 

33. 'em] them Qq, Jen. 38. thou wert] you wert F t . you were 

34. moe] F s . mo F t F t ,^ Sch. more F S F 4 + . thou were Han. 
QqF 4 ct cet. ' 41. till] before Qq, Jen. 

31. Be] Abbott, § 299: As a rule, it will be found that 'be 1 is used with some 
notion of doubt, question, thought, &c. ; for instance, in questions [as here], and 
after verbs of thinking. 

34. seven stars] Both Delius and Wright refer this phrase to the Pleiades, a 
constellation which assuredly is known by the name of The Seven Stars ; may it not, 
however, refer to the Great Bear, whose seven stars are the most conspicuous group 
in the circle of perpetual apparition in the Northerji Hemisphere ? — so conspicuous, 
indeed, that the Latin word for ' North ' was derived from them. We call this con- 
stellation ' The Dipper,' from its fancied resemblance to the utensil of that name ; a 
name, I believe, scarcely known in England. — Ed. 

37. perforce] Johnson: He is meditating on his resumption of royalty. Steevens: 
Rather he is meditating on his daughter's having in so violent a manner deprived 
him of those privileges which before she had agreed to grant him. Delius thinks that 
Johnson's interpretation is the more plausible, although * Monster ingratitude ' is more 
in the train of thought suggested by Steevens. Wright also agrees with Johnson's 
interpretation, as more in keeping with what Lear says in line 31 : ' I will forget my 

ACTi.scv.] KING LEAR 99 

Lear. Oh, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven i 
Keep me in temper ; I would not be mad ! — [Enter Gentle- 
man] How now ! are the horses ready ? 4$ 

Gent Ready, my lord. 

Lear. Come, boy. 

Fool. She that's a maid now and laughs at my departure 
Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter. 


43,44. Oh, let. ..mad /] Pope. Prose, 45. How now /] Om. Qq. 

QqFf, Rowc, Wh. Ktly. 46. Gent.] Seruant Qq. 

43. nottnad\ Om. Qq. 47. [Exit. Qq. Exeunt Lear, and Gen* 
mad, sweet heaven /] mad. Sweet tleman. Cap. 

heaven, Johns. 48. that's a] that is Qq, Mai. Steev. 

heaven /] heauen 1 1 would not be Bos. Sing. Ktly. that is a Cap. 

mad, Qq (dee Q a ). 49. unless] except Qq. 

44. [Enter Gentleman.] Theob. Om. [Exeunt] Exit. Qq. To the Au- 
QqFf. dience, as he goes out Ccp. 

43. Coleridge: The deepest tragic notes are often struck by a half sense of an 
impending blow. 

43. mad] Bucknill (p. 183) : This self-consciousness of gathering madness is 
common in various forms of the disease. ... A most remarkable instance of this was 
presented in the case of a patient, whose passionate, but generous, temper became 
morbidly exaggerated after a blow upon the head. His constantly expressed fear 
was that of impending madness ; and when the calamity he so much dreaded had 
actually arrived, and he raved incessantly and incoherently, one frequently heard the 
very words of Lear proceeding from his lips : * Oh, let me not be mad !' 

48, 49. Eccles : This concluding rhyme seems to intimate that the Fool expects 
to return soon, because of the ill treatment which he will probably receive where he 
is going. Steevens : This idle couplet is apparently addressed to the females present 
at the performance of the play ; and, not improbably, crept into the playhouse copy 
from the mouth of some buffoon actor, who 'spoke more than Was set down for him. 9 
It should seem, from Shakespeare's speaking in this strong manner, that he suffered 
the injury he describes. Indecent jokes, which the applause of the groundlings 
might occasion to be repeated, would at last find their way into the prompters' books, 
&c. I am aware that such liberties were exercised by the authors of Loerine, &c , 
but can such another offensive and extraneous address to the audience be pointed out 
among all the dramas of Shakespeare ? Coleridge : The Fool's conclusion of this 
Act, by a grotesque prattling, seems to indicate the dislocation of feeling that has 
begun and is to be continued. C. A. Brown (p. 292) : There are three passages, 
foisted in by the players, and adopted by the printers, which ought to be for ever 
expunged from the text : The couplet at the end of Act I ; the whole of Merlin's 
prophecy, III, ii, 79-95, as the Fool should go out with Lear, and those brutal words : 
• And I'll go to bed at noon,' III, vi, $2, when the old king sinks into sleep. Such 
contradictions puzzled me for a long time, till looking among the Annotations, a 
profitable task once in a hundred times, I discovered that none of these three pas- 
sages are in the Qq, printed eight years before Shakespeare's death, but are intra* 





ScewkL The Earl of Gloucester's CastU. 

Enter Edmund and Coram, meeting. 

Edm. Save thee, Curan. 

Cur. And you, sir. I have been with your father, and 
given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan, his 
duchess, will be here with him this night 

Edm. How comes that ? 

Cur. Nay, I know not You have heard of the news 
abroad, I mean the whispered ones, for they are yet but 
ear-kissing arguments ? 

Act n. Scene i.] Actus Secnndus. 
Seen* Prima Ff (Scan* FJ. Om. Qq. 
Act n. Scene ii. Ec. 

The...castle.] A Castle belonging 
to the Earl of Gloster. Rowe. A Room 
in dorter's Castle. Cap. A court within 
the castle of the earl of Gloster. MaL 

Enter.— .meeting.] Enter Baft, and 
Goran meeting. Q f . Enter Baftard, and 
Goran meetes him. Q,. Enter Baftard, 
and Goran, federally. Ff. 

1. 5, &c Edm.] Baft. QqFf. 

3-4. And..jnight.] Prose, Qq. Four 
lines, ending pin..^notice.^J>ueheffe.... 
night. Ff. 

2. you] your F v 

3. Regan] Om. Qq. 

4. this night] to night Qq, Cap. Steer, 
Ec Var. Coll. Del. Sing. Ktly. 

7. they] then Qq. 

8. ear-hissing] eare-bujing Qq, Coll. 

doced into the F |9 printed seven years after it This, together with their absurdity, 
makes it plain that they are not Shakespeare's. [The present passage is not omitted 
in the Qq.] Singer : She who thinks that this journey we are now starting on will 
better as, and bring us mirth, is such a simpleton that, if she is a maid now, she will 
be cheated before long of her claim to that title. White : Steevens's opinion that 
this is an interpolation appears to be well founded. The indecency is entirely gra-. 
tuitous; it is 'dragged in by the head and shoulders,' which is not in Shakespeare's 
manner. The jest, if we must call it such, is of the most miserable sort, and one 
which Sh. would hardly suffer in the mouth of this, the most thoughtful and subtly 
whimsical of all his thoughtful and subtle Fools. [See also note on the Merlin 
prophecy, III, ii, 81.] Ellis (p. 200) refers to lists of words given by Cooper, 
1685, shewing that Cooper pronounced the final -ture in lecture, nature, picture, 
scripture, &c. as -ter; the present rhyme shows that ' departure ' was so pronounced 
in Shakespeare's day. White (vol. xii, p. 437) says that -ure final was generally, if 
not universally, pronounced ~er among even the most polite -and literate of our Eliza- 
bethan ancestors. Ellis, after quoting this observation by White, says (p. 973), 
that this usage was not general or confirmed till the XVIIth century. [For the 
rhyme, see also II, iii, 20.] 

8. ear-kissing] Steevens : That is, they are yet in reality only whispered ones. 
Collier (ed. ii.) suggests that a play is probable upon bussing of the Qq and buz* 


ACT II, SC. 1.] 



Edm. Not I. Pray you, what are they ? 

Cur. Have you heard of no likely wars toward, 'twixt 10 
the Dukes of Cornwall and Albany ? 

Edm. Not a word. 

Cur. You may do then in time. Fare you well, sir. 


Edm. The duke be here to-night ? The better 1 best 1 
This weaves itself perforce into my business. 15 

My father hath set guard to take my brother ; 
And I have one thing, of a queasy question, 
Which I must aft. Briefness and fortune, work !— 
Brother, a word ; descend ! Brother, I say ! 

Enter Edgar. 

My father watches ! O sir, fly this place ! 
Intelligence is given where you are hid ! 
You have now the good advantage of the night 
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall ? 
He's coming hither, now, i' th' night, i' th' haste, 


9. Not /. Pray] Not, I pray Qq. 
IO-I2. Cur. Jfave...word.] Om. Q a . 

10. HavcJoward,] Separate line, Ff, 

toward] towards Q,. 

11. the] the two Q t , Jen. 

13. Two lines, Ff. 

do] Om. Qq, Jen. Steev. Ec Var. 
Dyce i. 

[Exit.] Om. Q,. 

14. Scene ii. Pope, Han. Warb. 
14-97. Verse, Ff. Prose, Qq. 

14. better! bestf] Pope, better befl, 
QqFf. better, best, Rowe, Ktly. 

17. queasy] quefle Qq. queazie F,F S . 
queazy F a F 4 . 

18.] Which mufl ofke 
breefnes and fortune helpe Qq [breefe* 
neffe Q,). 

19. Enter Edgar.] To him, enter 
Edgar. Pope. After which, line 18, in 
Q a . In margin opposite itself in line 15 
in Q x ; after line 18, in Ff, Rowe, Pope, 

20. sir] Om. Qq. 

22. You have] You've Pope +, Dyce u\ 

23. 'gainst] gainft Q,. againft Q,. 
Cornwall 7] Cornwall ought, Qq. 

Cornwall aught Jen. 

24. hither] Aether Qq. 

T th' night] in the night Qq. 
i'.lh' haste] haste Pope, in haste 

10. toward] At hand. See III, iii, 17; IV, vi, 209; Ham. I, i, 77; V, ii, 352. 

17. queasy] Steevens: Delicate, unsettled, requiring to be handled nicely. 
[Steevens called attention to the use of this word in The Paston Letters, where it is 
spelled 'qweysye' (iii, 98, ed. Gairdner), and Wright to another passage where it is 
spelled ' coysy ' (i, 497, ib.). In both instances it is applied to ' the world • in the sense 
of unsettled, troublous.] Knight : Ticklish perhaps gives the meaning more clearly, 

24. th' haste] For instances of the use of the definite article in adverbial phrases, 
see Abbott, §91. 



And Regan with him ; have you nothing said 25 

Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany? 
Advise yourself 

Big. I am sure ont, sot a word. 

Edm. I hear my father coming! Pantonine; 
In cunning I must draw my sword upon you. 
Draw; seem to defend yourself; now quit you wdL 30 

Yield! come before my father ! — Light, ho, here! — 
Fly, brother!— Torches, torches! [Exit Edgar .\--So fiuewdL 
Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion 
Of my more fi er ce endeavour. I have seen drunkards 

Q* 3*. **] ** IT+, K*. Acre, Q^ 

Imm\rm Fbpe+, Jem. Dycei. 31. fc*fci] fc*fci >aVQq. 
*S» S* mm? M f i t] m,m<rm^ TWoae*, *rr*o] 7Wnkr F.F % 

3a ZWw,] Om. Qu, [Ex* Edgar.] On. <& 

ifcv«u.sdt] Cap. Two fines* 33. [Womnds his arm. Rove, 

the tot t^fac J >— •' " 9* > FT ♦, Jem. 34- Ikmme\ rwe Fope+, Dyce u. 


«& Upon ail patty] Dues was the first to interpret rightly these two ques- 
tions of BSnnndV I* order to confuse his brother and urge him to a more speedy 
tight, by giving urn the idea that he is surrounded by perils, Edmund asks Edgar first, 
whether he has mot spokes Against the Duke of Cornwall, and then, reversing the 
queetio*, asks w h et h er he has not said something on the side of Cornwall 'gainst the 
D*k* of Albany. Schmidt gives seTen instances, besides the present, where * upon 
the party • means *upom the side of' Before Delias, Hanme&'s interpretation ob- 
tained, by which line 16 was regarded as only another way of patting the same 
option as that in line 13; thus: Hare yon said nothing upon the party formed 
by him against the Duke of Albany ? Capkll added that we mast supply the word 
• reflecting • before * upon.' The passage so puzzled Johnson that he believed it to 
he corrupt, and proposed the reading: Against his party, for the Duke of Albany ? 
KvYLK* noted how Edmund grasped at every motive, however trivial or insignificant, 
that would enforce Edgar's departure, Mobe&ly gives an ingenious interpretation 
of thin second question of Edmund's : the war being only ' toward,* and having not 
yet twVen out, * Albany would be in a position to demand the punishment of any one 
who apoht against him, and Cornwall not unlikely to concede it, as Elizabeth might 
have done, if hi* warlike preparations were not sufficiently advanced to make it safe 
to throw down the gauntlet' 

■J. Advise] SrKKVKNSt Consider, recollect yourself. Wright: See 1 Chron. 
Ml, l i 1 • Now, therefore, advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that 
•ent me,* 

31, Yield , . . father] DlUUSt Edmund speaks these words loud so as to be 
ht«rd outside. 

ACT II, SC. l.j 



Do more than this in sport — Father, father I— 35 

Stop, stop ! — No help ? 

Enter Gloucester, and Servants with torches. 

Glou. Now, Edmund, where's the villain ? 

Edm. Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out, 
Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon 
To stand auspicious mistress. 

Glou. But where is he ? 40 

Edm. Look, sir, I bleed ! 

Glou. Where is the villain, Edmund ? 

Edm. Fled this way, sir, when by no means he could — 

Glou. Pursue him, ho! Go after. — 'By no means' 

Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lordship; 

35. Father, father] Why, father, 
father Cap. Father, father, father 

36. and... torches.] Om. Qq. 

37. Scene in. Pope, Han. Warb. Jen. 
where**] where is Q f . 

39. Mumbling] warbling Qq. 

40. stand] fland's Q,, Theob. Warb. 
Johns. Cam. Wr. ftand his Q^F^, 
Rowe, Pope, Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. 
Knt, Sing. Ktly. 

mistress.] mistress; — Cap. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Knt, Sing, mistress, — Dyce, 

Glo. Mob. Sch. 

41. villain^ Edmund] villaine Ed* 
mund Q K . 

42. sir, when] QqFf +, Jen. sir. 
When Cap. et cet. 

could—] could. F t . could F m . 

43. ho] Om. Qq. 

after.— 'By] after. By Ff. after, 

[Exeunt some Servants. Dyce* 
Exit Servant. Cap. 

44. to the] to F 3 F 4 . 

35. sport] Steevens: So in Marston's Dutch Courtezan (iv, i) : ' — if I have 
not as religiously vowd my hart to you, — been drunke to your health, swalowd flap* 
dragons, eate glasses, drunke urine, stabd armes, and don all the offices of protested 
gallantrie for your sake.' Halliwell, in his note on this passage in Marston, gives 
other instances of this same practice from Greene's Tu Quoque and Dekkar's Honest 
Whore. As Collier says, many passages might be produced to show that young 
gallants sometimes stabbed their arms in order to be able to drink the healths of 
their mistresses in blood. 

39. Mumbling of] Abbott, § 178: We should be inclined to treat the verbal as 
a present participle, because there is no preposition before it : ' ^-mumbling of.' The 
verbal here means « in the act of.' See Ham. I, v, 175, and II, i, 92. 

39. charms] Warburton: This was a proper circumstance to urge to Glou- 
cester, who appears by a previous scene to be superstitious with regard to this 

42. this way] Capell : A wrong way should be pointed to. 

104 KING LEAR [act n, sc. L 

But that I told him the revenging gods 45 

'Gainst parricides did all the thunder bend, 

Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond 

TTie child was bound to th' lather; sir, in fine, 

Seeing how loathly opposite I stood 

To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion 50 

With his prepared sword he charges home 

My unprovided body, lanced mine arm ; 

But whe'r he saw my best alarum'd spirits 

45. revenging] reuengiue Qq, $2. lanced]Thtob. lanchtQ^ launcht 

46. the thunder'] Ff + , Knt, DeL Wh. Q., Rowc. latch 'd Ff. launch' d Pope, 
Sch. their thunder Johns. Heath, their Han. Knt touched Sch. 

thunders Qq et cet mine] my Theob. Warb. Johns. 

47. manifold] many/ouldQq. 53. But whe*r] St*, conj. But whether 

48. loth'] td th 9 F g F r tothF r to Coll; fi (MS). And when Ff +, Knt, 
tl/Qq. Sch. cut when QqetceL 

in fine] in a fine Qq. alarum* d] alarumdQq. alarm' d 

$0. in] with Qq. F 4 . alarmed Rowt+. 

45. that] This, after « When/ in line 41, completes the conjunction ' When that. 9 
See Clarendon's note on Ham. IV, vii, 16a 

45. revenging] Wright: With the Qq reading, compare 'responsive,' equiv- 
alent to corresponding, in Ham* V, ii, 146. 

46. the] Dycb calls this reading of the Ff 'a vile reading. 9 ['All the thunder* 
appears to be a stronger and more comprehensive e x pre ss ion than, the thunder of 
the revenging gods alone. — Ed.] 

5a motion] Schmidt (Lex.) : An attack in fencing opposed to guard, or parry* 
tag. See TmeL iV. Ill, iv, 504 ; Ham. IV, vii, 102 and 158. [See Vincentio Saviolo, 
his Practise, 1595 : 'hold your dagger firm, marking (as it were) with one eye the 
motion of your aduersarie,' — sig. ***, p.. 1, line 4. — Ed.] 

52. lanced] Knight prefers launch, and cites instances from Spenser, Fairy 
Queen, i, 4, and Dryden, Georgia, Hi. Undoubtedly launch would be preferable 
if there were any difference in signification between it and lance, and if elsewhere 
Isaac Jaggard and the printers of the Qq had not used the words indifferently. 
Wright: Compare Hollyband (Fr. Diet. 1593): 'Poindre, to pricke, to sticke, to 
lanch.' Schmidt pronounces ' latch'd ' a misprint. 

53. whe'r] This suggestion of Staunton's of 'wbcV (£. e. whether) fcr when 
of the QqFf seems to me an emendatio certissima.. It restores the construction, which 
with when is irregular, and to be explained only on the ground of Edmund's per- 
turbation. For many illustrations of the monosyllabic pronunciation of whether, 
from Chaucer downwards, see Walker, Vers. 103, or Abbott, § 466, or Macb. I, 
iii, 111, or Ham. II, ii, 17; III, ii, 193. Schmidt prefers And when of the Ff, 
because ' but ' of the Qq would indicate that the result of the scene was something 

53. best alarum'd spirits] Delius interprets this : 'my best spirits alarum'd 9 ; 
but Schmidt says that • best' is used adverbially, and here means in the best way. 

act II. sc. i.] KING LEAR 1 05 

Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to th' encounter, 

Or whether gasted by the noise I made, 55 

Full suddenly he fled. 

Glou. Let him fly far ; 

Not in this land shall he remain uncaught ; 
And found— dispatch. The noble duke my master, 

54. quarters righ/] quarrels, rights dispatch — Pope, Thcob. untaught; 
Q x . And for dispatch Kan. uncaught ; And 

55. gasted"] 'gasted Cap. 'ghosted 'Jen. found, — Dispatch. Johns, uncaught; 
ghosted Knt, Del. Sen. And, found, dispatch' d. Cap. Coll. iii. 

56. Full] but Qq, Cap. uncaught; And found— Dispatch— Jen. 
58, 59. uncaught;... — dispatch.]Sttev. uncaught. And found— dispatch Sing. 

uncaught and found; dif patch, QqFf Ktly, Sch. 
(/wfl^QJ.Rowe. uncaught and found; 

55. gasted] Wright : Frightened. Steevens quotes from Beau, and Fl. Wit at 
Several Weapons, II, iii, but the word there in the original copies is * gaster*d ' : 
« Either the sight of the Lady has gasterM him, or else he's drunk.' This is still an 
Essex word. ' Gast ' as a participle occurs in Cursor Mundi (MS Trin. Coll. Cam- 
bridge, fol. 31, quoted in Halliwell's Diet.), p. 291 (E. E. Text Soc., ed. Morris) t 
' His wille was but to make hem gast.' The other three printed texts of the poem 
have ' agast,' * agaste,' and < a-gast.' Sh. uses ' gastness ' in the sense of terror-stricken 
look in Oth. V, i, 106 : * Do you perceive the gastness of her eye ?' And Spenser 
'has * gastfull ' in the sense of < awful ' in Shepherd's Calendar, August, 170 : ' Here 
will I dweU apart In gastfull grove therefore. 9 Both these last-mentioned words 
appear to have been used as if they were etymologically connected with ' ghost.' 
For this derivation there is no foundation. Cotgrave gives, ' Espoventable : com. 
Dreadfull, frightfull, fearefull; horrible, gastfull, horride.' The form 'gaster' is 
found in H^rsneVs Declaration of Popish Imposture (1603), p. 73 : « Did euer the God- 
gastring Giants, whom Iupiter overwhelmed with Pelion and Ossa, so complaine 
of theyr loade ?' Mr Skeat has pointed out to me an excellent example- of 'gast' in 
The Vision of Piers Plowman, Text A, Passus vii, 1,-129: *BoJ>e to sowen and to 
setten * and saued his tilj>e, Gaste Crowen from his Corn * and kepen his Beestes.' 

58. dispatch] Warburton : This nonsense should be read and pointed thus : 
* And found, dispatch'd.' — 1. e. as soon as he is found he shall be dispatch' d or 
executed. Johnson : The sense is interrupted. He shall be caught— and found, 
he shall be punished. Despatch. Singer {N. <&* Qu. 1st Ser. vol. vi, p. 6, 1852) : 
The context plainly shows that we should read, preserving the punctuation of the 
Folio: l Un found; dispatch.' [This conjecture Singer afterwards withdrew in his 
Text ofSh. Vindicated, &c, p. 270.] A. E. B[rae] [AT. & Qu. 1st Ser. vol. vi, p. 
82, 1852) : -There is an expressive pause after ' found,' as though the punishment 
consequent upon Edgar's capture were too terrible and indeterminate for immediate 
utterance. ' Dispatch ' is addressed to Edmund, and simply means, ' Get on with 
your story,' which in fact he does at the conclusion of Gloucester's speech. Collier 
(ed. ii.) : ' Despatch'd ' is the correction in the (MS), and the context, where Glou* 
cester adds that ' the murderous coward ' shall be brought ' to the stake,' entirely 
confirms it. Staunton : The old text [that is, as Staunton gives it : ' And found— 

106 KING LEAR [act ii, sc. L 

My worthy arch and patron, comes to-night; 

By his authority I will proclaim it, 60 

That he which finds him shall deserve our thanks, 

Bringing the murderous coward to the stake; 

He that conceals him, death. 

Edm. When I dissuaded him from his intent 
And found him pight to do it with curst speech, 65 

I threatened to discover him ; he replied : 
1 Thou unpossessing bastard ! dost thou think, 
If I would stand against thee, would the reposal 
Of any trust, virtue, or Worth, in thee 

Make thy words faith'd ? No ; what I should deny, — 70 

As this I would ; ay, though thou didst produce 
My very character, — rid turn it all 

$9. worthy] worth F 4 . 68-70. would the reposal.. Jfahe] iht 

arch and patron] and arch-patron reposal... Would make Han. 

Theob. Han. 70. what I should] whatjhould /Ff. 

61. which] who Theob. ii, Warb. by what I should Rowe. Pope, what 
Johns. Td Han. when I should Warb. Johns. 

62. coward] eaytife Q,. caytiffe Q^. what, should I Sch. 

caitiff Jen. Cam. Wr. 71. ay t though] /though Qq. though 

68. would the reposal] could the re* TL although Rowe ii+. 
pofure Qq, Cap. Jen. Cam. Wr. 72. rid] ril F 4 . would Han. Cap. 

dispatch !'] is right Thus in Blurt, Master Constable, ▼, i : * There to find Fonti- 
nelle: found, to kill him.' Dvcb: I cannot see that Staunton's quotation supports 
the old reading. 

59. arch] Stkevsns : Chief. So in Heywood's If you Know not Me you Know 
Nobody (p. 48, ed. Sh. Soc.) : ' Poole, that arch, for truth and honesty.' Wright 
cites Steevens's quotation, and adds, ' but it is not a good instance of the word.' 
White : That is, chief; — to Odd Fellows and Masons a superfluous explanation. 

65. pight . • . curst] Johnson: 'Pight' is pitched, fixed, settled. « Curst' is 
severe, harsh, vehemently angry. Moberly : • Pight ' comes from pitched, as dight 
comes from deck, or right from reach. 

67. unpossessing] Moberly : Incapable of inheriting. * For/ says Blackstone, 
' [a bastard] is looked upon as " nullius films," and therefore of kin to nobody, and 
he has no ancestor from whom any inheritable blood can be derived.' Coleridge : 
Thus the secret poison of Edmund's own heart steals forth ; and then observe poor 
Gloucester's ' Loyal and natural boy !' as if praising the crime of Edmund's birth. 

68. I would] For instances where ' would ' is not used for should, see Abbott, $ 331. 
68, 69. reposal • • . thee] Deuus says that 'virtue or worth in thee' does not, 

like ' trust,' depend on * reposal,' but is co-ordinate with it, and any is to be under- 
stood before it ; or, as Wright states it, * the reposure of any trust, (or the belief in 
any) virtue or worth, in thee.' 

70. faith'd] That is, believed. See I, i, 203. 

72. character] See I, ii, 59. 

act ii, sc. i.] KING LEAR 107 

To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice ; 73 

And thou must make a dullard of the world, 
If they not thought the profits of my death 75 

Were very pregnant and potential spurs 

73. practice] praclifeY J? % . pretence 76. spurs] fpurres Qq. /pints Ff, 

Qq. Rowe, DeL i, Sen. 

73. suggestion] Nares : Temptation, seduction. Hunter (Note on Macb. I, 
iii, 134) : « Suggestion ' is a theological word, one of the three ' procurators or tempters ' 
of sin. Delight and Consent being the others. 

73. practice] Collier (ed. ii.) : The accent seems to show that pretence of the 
Qq is not the right word, unless we read ' damrid pretence.' Wright : ' Practice ' 
is more in keeping with ' plot ' and ' suggestion.' 

75. not thought] For instances of the omission of the auxiliary in negative sen- 
fences, or for the transposition of the negative, see Abbott, § 305. 

75. death] Moberly : This skilful suggestion, that Edmund should be put into 
Edgar's place, is acted upon at once by Gloucester; yet it is so indirect that Glou- 
cester imagines the thought to have come from himself. Lord Bacon, in his essay 
on Cunning, speaks of the trick of ' turning cat in pan ;' that is, making a suggestion 
in such a way that the hearer supposes it to be his own. This may be done either 
coarsely — ' as you said, and wisely was it said,' was Polonius's way of impressing his 
own thoughts on the king— or, in a more skilful way, as here.' 

76. pregnant] In Meas. for Afeas, I, i, 12, Johnson first defined this word by 
* ready,' and this definition has been adopted as its general meaning in Sh. down to 
the present day; certainly it is generally thus interpreted in. the present passage. 
Wright goes so far as to say that it '. is used by Sh., without any reference to its 
literal meaning, in the sense of "ready;"' he afterwards defines it as 'manifest, 
obvious,' in certain passages which he cites.. Schmidt gives no intimation that it is 
used in its ' literal meaning;' the fourteen instances of its use that he cites he divides 
under three heads : 1st, expert, clever, ingenious, artful ; 2d, disposed, ready, prompt 
(under this head the present passage is cited) ; 3d, probable in the highest degree, 
clear, evident Now, on the other hand, I cannot but think that Nares came nearer 
the truth when he said that the ruling sense of this word is that of 'being full or pro- 
ductive of something.' Out of Schmidt's fourteen instances eleven appear to me to 
come under Nares's definition. Three instances (Lear IV, vi, 222; Wint. Tale, V, 
ii, 34; and Ant. and CUop. II, i, 45) are used in so metaphorical a sense that one 
may give to them almost any meaning that his mother wit suggests as applicable to 
the passage. My interpretation of the ' pregnant hinges of the knee ' in Ham. Ill, 
ii, 56, is there recorded ; the present passage seems to me exactly parallel, and may 
be paraphrased thus : ' So great are the profits of my death that the spurs to make 
thee seek it are most powerful, and teem with incitements thereto.' Schmidt in 
his edition repeats his definitions of ' pregnant,' and doubts if, thus defined, Sh. ever 
could have applied it to 'spurs,' and, while faithful to the Folio, confesses that spirits 
form but a poor predicate to ' profits,' yet in the sense of evil spirits that it is at least 
as probable a reading as ' spurs.' In my opinion the reading of the Folio is a mis- 
print for ' spurs ' of the Quarto. * Pregnant ' is quite as appropriate to ' spurs ' as to 
« hinges/ — Ed, 



[act ii, SC. i. 

To make thee seek it/ 

Glou. O strange and fastened villain 1 77 

Would he deny his letter ? * I never got him.* 

[Tucket within. 
Hark, the duke's trumpets 1 I know not why he comes. 
All ports I'll bar ; the villain shall not 'scape ; 80 

The duke must grant me that Besides, his pifture 
I will send far and near, that all the kingdom 
May have due note of him ; and of my land, 
Loyal and natural boy, I'll work the means 
To make thee capable. 85 

77. O Orange and /u/«*V] Ff, Rowe, 
Knt, Del. i, Sch. Strong and faftned 
Qc Strong and fqftened Q.. O strange, 
fastened Pope+, Ec Strange, and 
fastened Cap. (MS).* O strong and 
fastened Dyce i, Ktly. Strong and 
fasten* d Cap. et cet 

villain] VUiaine F,. 

78. / never got him.] said kef Ff, 
Rowe, Pope, Theob. Sch. said het 

Aari/Han. Sch. said ke f I never got 
him. Cap. Knt 

78. [Tucket within.] Ff (after seek it, 
line 77). After villain Cap. After Aim 
Mai. Om.Qq. Trumpets within. Rowe* 
Trumpets without Sta. 

79. why] wher F# when FJFJFf 
whet 9 Knt 

83. due] Om. Qq. 
85. [Flourish. Cap. 

77. strange] As Schmidt says, Sh. uses this sometimes in the sense of enormous, 
unheard of? 'this most foul, strange, and unnatural [murder] '—Ham. I, v, 28; 
* All strange and terrible events are welcome '—Ant. and Chop. IV, xv, 3. 

78. This line in the Ff is manifestly imperfect ; I have followed the majority of 
editors in adopting a sentence from the Qq which seems in keeping with Glou- 
cester's agitation. — Ed. 

78. Tucket] Nares : A particular set of notes on the trumpet, used as a signal 
for a march. From toccata, which Florio defines : ' A praeludium that cunning mu- 
sitions use to play, as it were, voluntary before any set lesson.' 

81. picture] Lord Campbell: One would suppose that photography, by which 
this mode of catching criminals is ndw practised, had been invented in the reign of 
King Lear. [We have merely called in photography to our aid in continuing a 
practice common in Shakespeare's time, as this present passage shows, and of which 
we have a corroboration in the old play of Nobody and Somebody, 1606 (Privately 
reprinted by Mr Alexander Smith of Glasgow, 1877) : < Let him be straight im- 
printed to the life : His picture shall be set on euery stall, And proclamation made, 
that he that takes him, Shall haue a hundred pounds cf Somebody? Sig. D 4 . For 
this reference I am indebted to the Preface of the Reprint. — Ed.] 

84. natural] Hudson : This word is here used with great art, in the double sense 
of illegitimate and as opposed to unnatural, which latter epithet is implied upon Edgar. 

85. capable] Lord Campbell: In forensic discussions respecting legitimacy, the 
question is put, whether the individual whose status is to be determined is ' capable,' 
L e, capable of inheriting ; but it is only a lawyer who would express the idea of legiti- 
mising a natural son by simply saying, ' I'll work the means To make him capable.' 

Acrn, sc.L] KING LEAR 109 

Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Attendants. 

Corn. How now, my noble friend ! since I came hither, 86 
Which I can call but now, I have heard strangfe news. 

Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short 
Which can pursue the offender. How dost, my lord ? 

Glou. Oh, madam, my old heart is crack'd, — it's crack'd ! 90 

Reg. What, did my father's godson seek your life ? 
He whom my father named ? your Edgar ? 

Glou. Oh, lady, lady, shame would have it hid ! 

86. Scene iv. Pope+, Jen. 90. it's] is Qq, Cap. Steer. Ec. Van 
Enter...] Enter the Duke of Corn- Cam. Wr. 

wall. Qq. 92. named? your Edgar f] nam'd, 

87. strange news\ Jlrange newts Qq. your Edgar? Ff. named your Edgar? 
/Irangeneffe F t F r Jtrangenefs FJF 4 . Qq. nam'd, your Edgar t He? Han. 

$$. too short] tojhort F $ . nam'd? your heir, your Edgar? Coll* 

89. dost] does F,F 3 F 4 +, Cap. Jen. Ec iii (MS). 

doest Sen. 93. Oh] I Qq. Ay Anon * 

90. Oh] Om. Qq. 

89. dost] The fact that Regan at no other time addresses Gloucester in the second 
person makes me think that we should here read : ' How does my lord? • For the 
omission of the nominative after ' dost/ see Abbott, §§ 241, 399, 400. — Ed. 

91. Coleridge : Compare Regan's ' did my father's godson seek your life? He 
whom my father named?' with the unfeminine violence of her 'All vengeance 
comes too short/ &c, and yet no reference to the guilt, but only to the accident, 
which she uses as an occasion for sneering at her father. Regan is not, in fact, a 
greater monster than Goneril, but she has the power of casting more venom. 

92. This line Abbott, § 478, scans in two ways : First, by pronouncing the last 
syllable in it ' with a kind of " burr," which produced the effect of an additional 
syllable;' and as he cites 'sirrah' as an instance of this 'burr,' the best way, prob- 
ably, of conveying his idea in spelling would be ' Ed-garrah.' Or, secondly, Abbott 
queries whether it might not be scanned by pronouncing ' your ' dissoluti, thus : 
•najmed? you|r Edgar?' Of these two methods, the latter seems preferable. 
Walker [Crit. ii, 145) suggests, in his chapter on the omission of repeated words, 
that Gloucester says : ' 1 O lady,' and that the first ' O ! ' which closed this line had 
been omitted. Lettsom, in a foot-note, queries '"your Edgar, G/oster? n Closter 
may have been left out at the end of the line in consequence of Gh. occurring at 
the beginning of the next.' For Collier's (MS) emendation, see Textual Notes; 
Moberly, referring to this emendation, says : ' Probably the intense tone of astonish- 
ment would give a prolonging accentuation to several of the syllables as the line 
stands, and make it in reality long enough without the addition. If the reading, 
however, was invented, its inventor had a good notion of the way in which conso- 
nants fall out of the body of a word. There would be the same kind of identity 
between 'heir' and ' Edgar 9 as between 'Audrey' and 'Ethelreda,' 'Maude' and 
4 Matilda; ' and his theory would be that, from the similarity of the two words, one 
had got dropped.' 




[act ii 9 sc. L 

Reg. Was He not companion with the riotous knights 
That tend upon my father ? 

Glou. I know not, madam. — Tis too bad, too bad. 

Edm. Yes, madam, he was of that consort 

Reg. No marvel then, though he were ill affected; 
Tis they have put him on the old man's death, 
To have th' expense and waste of his revenues. 
I have this present evening from my sister 
Been well inform'd of them, and with such cautions 
That if they come to sojourn at my house t 
I'll not be there. 

Corn. Nor I, assure thee, Regan.— 



94. no(\ Om. Coll. (MS). 

95. tend upon] Theob. tends vpcn 
Qq. tended upon Ff, Rowe, Pope, Knt, 
Ktly. tended on Han. 

95-97. That...was] Two lines, ending 
madam.. .was, and omitting of that con- 
tort. Cap. Steev. '93, Bos. 

96. ' Tis too bad, too bad.] Separate 
line, Steev. '85, Mai. Ec. 

'Tis] it is Cap. Steev. '85, '93, 
Var. Ec. 

97. madam] madam, yes Coll. ii (MS). 

97. of that consort] Om. Qq, Cap. 
Steev. '93, Bos. one of that consort 
Dyce conj. 

100. to* expense and waste of his] the 
waft and fpoyle of his Q f , Jen. Mai. 
Steev. Bos. Sta. Cam. Wr. theft and 
wafte of this his Q.. th* expence and 
waft of F,F,F 4 . 

103, 104. That. ..there.] One line, Qq. 
104-106.] Prose, Qq. 

104. assure] I assure Theob. ii,Warb. 

95. tend] Abbott, § 472, gives this word, in the Ff, as an instance of the fact 
that -ed, when following d or /, is often not written, and, even when written, is often 
not pronounced. 

97. madam] Walker ( Vers. 173) : This is usually a monosyllable. 

97. consort] Dyce (Gloss.) : A fellowship, a fraternity. See Abbott, § 490, for 
a list of words in Sh. where the accent is nearer the end than with us. [As this 
word thus accented meant also a company of musicians (see Rotrt. & Jul. Ill, i, 41, 
where Mercutio conceives himself insulted by being classed among minstrels), it is 
probably here used as a strongly contemptuous term. — Ed.] 

98. were] Abbott, § 301 : The meaning is : « It is no wonder, then, that he was 
a traitor, 1 and no doubt or future meaning is implied. 

99. 'Tis they] Clarke : Regan seeks to associate the accused man, Edgar, with 
the knights of her father's train, upon whom she is determined to fasten blame as an 
excuse for her refusal to receive and entertain them. 

99. put him on] See I, iv, 200. 

100. expense and waste] Malone supposed that these of Q a was a misprint for 
the use. Wright thinks that the reading of the Ff is apparently a conjectural emen- 
dation of the reading of the incorrect Qq. [It seems probable that the dash in 
Q, indicates the haste and carelessness with which these editions were printed. 
Either the stenographer misheard the word and put a dash, which he afterwards 
hoped to fill up, but did not, and the compositor repeated it in type, or the com* 





Edmund, I hear that you have shown your father 
A child-like office. 

Edm. 'Twas my duty, sin 

Glou. He did bewray his practice, an^received 
This hurt you see, striving to apprehend him. > 

Corn. Is he pursued ? 

Glou. Ay, my good lord 

Corn. If he be taken, he shall never more 
Be fear'd of doing harm. Make your own purpose, 
How in my strength you please. — For you, Edmund, 
Whose virtue and obedience doth this instant 
So much commend itself, you shall be ours. 
Natures of such deep trust we shall much need ; 
You we first seize on* 

Edm. I shall serve you, sir, 

Truly, however else. 

Glou. For him I thank your grace. 




105. hear] heard Qq. 

106. ' Twos] Twos Qq. // was F f F,, 
Knt. It is F,F 4 , Rowe. It's Pope, 

107. bewray] betray Qq. 
109. lord] lord, he is Han. 
IIO-I16. If he..jeise on.] Prose, Qq. 

112. For] as for F,F 3 F 4 +, Jen. 
Edmund] good Edmund Ktly. 

113. doth this instant] in this instance. 
Warb. Johns, doth, in this instance 

Heath, Jen. 

114. commend] commends Warb. 

itself] themselves Ec. conj. 

115. 116. need; You we] need you 9 
we Q t . need, you we Q,. 

116.117. I shall...else.] As by Pope. 
One line, QqFf. 

116. sir] Om. Qq, Jen. 
X17. Truly] At end of 116, Jen. Sta. 
For him] Om. Pope+. 

positor was baffled by the text of his copy, and left a dash to be filled up by the 
proof-reader, which was not done. See Appendix, p. 362.] 

107. bewray] Wright : From A. S. wrigan, or wreian, to accuse. See Matthew, 
xxvi, 73: 'thy speech bewrayeth thee!' * Bewray* and 'betray* are used almost 
interchangeably, but in the former there is no notion of treachery inherent. 

107. practice] Steevens: Always used by Sh. for insidious mischief. See 
line 73. 

in. fearM of] For a long list of instances where ^ means ' concerning/ ' about,* 
see Abbott, $ 174, or Ham. II, ii, 27. 

112. For you] Abbott, § 483, for the sake of metre prolongs ' you ' into a dis- 

113. virtue • • . doth] Capell: 'Virtue and obedience* is put figuratively for 
virtuous obedience; and hence it is that 'itself* is predicated of it, and 'doth* fol- 
lows it; and did at follow ( doth,' the next expression were neater, but it may do 
without. [For instances of a verb in the singular after two nominatives, see Ham. 
IH, ii, 157, and Sh. passim.] 

112 KING LEAR [act n, sc. i 

Corn. You kpow not why we came to visit you ? 1 18 

Reg. Thus out of season, threading dark-eyed night; 

Occasions, noble Gloucester, of some poise, 120 

Wherein we must have use of your advice. 

Our father he hath writ, so hath our sister, 

Of differences, which I best thought it fit 

118. came] come Cap. conj. Rowe, Pope, Theob. Han. Johns. Ec. 
you t] Qq^F,, Sch. you. F 3 F 4 , Sch. price Johns, conj. Cap. 

Coll. i, Del. Wh. you (continuing the 121. advice.'] advice— Rowe, Pope, 

next line to * Corn.'), Rowe ii, Pope, Han. aduife, Q z . aduice, Q a . advices : Cap. 

Ktly. you — or you, — Roweietcet. 123. differences] diferences Q,. de* 

119. threading] IhreddingFf. threat' fences Q.. 

n **g Qq« *«0 kft Q,. least Cam. Wr. 

night;] night, QqFf. night f thought it] though it F,. thourht 

Rowe, Pope, night/ Sch. Sch. 

120. poise] poyfe Q,. pHu Q,Ff, 

119. Regan] Jennens: Regan may be here supposed officiously to complete 
Cornwall's sentence. Hudson : Regan's snatching the speech out of her husband's 
mouth is rightly in character. These two strong-minded ladies think nobody else 
can do anything so well as they. [Although Regan does certainly take up and con* 
tinue her husband's speech, yet it should be remembered that the comma and dash at 
the end of Cornwall's speech, line 118, are due only to Rowe. — Ed.] 

119. threading] Theobald: I have great suspicion that it should be treading, 
u e. travelling. The text as it stands carries too obscure and mean an allusion. It 
must either be borrowed from the cant phrase of threading of alleys, 1. e. going 
through by-passages; or to threading a needle in the darh. Heath: That is, 
slipping through the night, as if afraid of being discovered. Steevens : The same 
phrase is used in Cor. Ill, i, 124. Wright: Compare for the figure of speech* 
King John, V, iv, II. 

120. poise] M alone: Weight or moment. Henley: Sh. having elsewhere 
used to peiu for to balance or weigh, and the letter r in his own autograph being 
made more like an e, I conclude that prize was the original word, and signified 
deliberation. Schmidt upholds the Ff, to whose reading he gives the meaning : ( ot 
some account; • thus, in Cym. Ill, vi, 77, Imogen, when wishing that Guiderius and 
Arviragus had been her brothers, says, ' then had my prize Been less, and so more 
equal ballasting To thee, Posthumus ;' and in Ant. 6* Cleop.V, ii, 183, Caesar says to 
Cleopatra : < Caesar's no merchant, to make prize with you Of things that merchants 
sold.' [I should agree with Schmidt in preferring the Folio, did not Sh. elsewhere 
use ' poise ' in phrases similar to the present. Even on Schmidt's own theory, in 
which I agree with him, that the Qq are surreptitious copies taken down from stage- 
representation, it is likely that ' poise ' was Shakespeare's own word when the play 
was first acted ; it is a less likely word to occur to an actor than/ro?. — Ed.] 

121. advice] Keightley : There is evidently a line lost after this. We might 
read : ' Have been the cause of Chis our sudden visit.' 

123. which] Delujs : This does not refer to ' differences/ but to « writ.' 

123. thought it fit] Schmidt thinks that the misprint of the Folio is more likely 

act n, sc. 2.] 



To answer from our home ; the several messengers 

From hence attend dispatch. Our good old friend, 125 

Lay comforts to your bosom and bestow 

Your needful counsel to our businesses, 

Which craves the instant use. 

Glou. I serve you, madam.— 

Your graces are right welcome. [Flourish. Exeunt. 129 

Scene II. Before Gloucester's castle. 

Enter Kent and Oswald, severalty. 

Osw. Good dawning to thee, friend ; art of this house ? 
Kent. Ay. 

124. home] hand Q,. 
126-128. Lay...use.] Two lines, the 
first ending counsel/, Qq. 

127. businesses] Ff +, Ec Knt, Dei 
Dyce i, Sen. busineffe Qq et cet 

128. craves] crave Rowe+, Ec. Knt, 
Del. Dyce i. 

[Exeunt Q s . Exit. Q,. 
128, 129. Iserve,..welcome.] One line, 

129. [FlourisL. Exeunt] Exeunt 
Flourifh. F,. Exeunt. F,F,F 4 . Om. Qq. 

Scene ii.] Scena Secunda Ff (Scaena 

FJ. Scene v.Pope+, Jen. The Scene 
continued by Rowe, Theob. Scene Iil 

Before...] Before the Castle. Cap. 

Enter. ] Coll. Enter Kent, and 

Steward feverally. Ff, Sen. Enter Kent, 
and Steward. Qq. 

1, 3, &c. Osw.] Coll. Steward, or 
Stew. QqFf, Sch. 

I. dawning] euen Qq, Cap. Jen. Ec* 
evening Pope, Theob. 

this] the Qq, Cap. Jen. Mai. Steev. 
Bos. Sing. Ktly. 

Co stand for thought fit than for ' thought it fit' [The space is suspiciously large be* 
tween ' though' and ' it,' and looks to me as though a letter had dropped out The 
presence or absence of * it* need not affect the scansion.— Ed.] 

124. from our home] Johnson : Not at home, but at some other place. [Com* 
pare ' From thence,' Maeb. Ill, iv, 36, or see Abbott, § 41. This meaning the 
phrase does not bear if Wright's reading of least from Q s be adopted.— Ed.] 

124. messengers] Walker ( Vers. 200) : This is frequently a quasi-dissyllable. 
See also Abbott, $ 468. 

127. businesses] If business of the Qq be adopted, it must be pronounced as a 
trisyllable, for which authority will be found in Walker ( Vers. 171) or Abbott, 

1. dawning] Warburton: The time is apparently night We should read, 

•Good downing? #. e. good rest, the common evening salutation of that time. 

Capell : And here [line 28] we see the time of this scene — that 'tis night; but late 

in it, and drawing towards morning. Mason: Lines 129 and 130 of this scene 

show that the time was very early in the morning. Malonb: It is clear that the 

morning is just beginning to dawn, though the moon is still op, and though Kent, 

10* H 

114 KING LEAR \fSX II, SC fa. 

Osw. Where may we set our horses ? 3 

Kent. Fth* mire. 

Osw. Prithee, if thou lovest me, tell me. 5 

KenU I love thee not 

Osw. Why then I care not for thee. 

Kent. If 1 had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make 
thee care for me. 

Osw. Why dost thou use me thus ? I know thee not' 10 

Kent. Fellow, I know thee. 

Osw. What dost thou know me for ? 

Kent A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; 

4. P M']. Mtk Qf I M F,F S F 4 . 8. Lipsbury] Lipjburu Q f . Ledbury 
In the Q.. Jen. conj. Fimbury Coll. iii (MS). 

5. Prithee] Prythee F,F 8 F 4 . Pretkee I would] Corrected to Pd by Cap. 
QqF,. {Notes, i, 230.) 

lovest] lortft Ff. lout Qq> Cap. 9. [Striking him. Coll. iii. 

Steev. Mai Ec. Bos. Coll. 

early in the scene, calls it still night. Towards the close of it he wishes Gloucestet 
good morrow, and immediately after calls on the sun to shine that he may read a 
letter. Delius : It is night, and as, in Sh., that time of day which is approaching 
is given by way of greeting, and not that which is then present, Oswald wishes 
Kent, whom he does not recognize in the dark, a good dawning. 

5. if thou lovest me] Delius : A conventional phrase before a question or re* 
quest, but which Kent here takes literally. 

8. Lipsbury pinfold] What Capell said a hundred years ago is still true : ' It 
is not come to knowledge, where that Lipsbury is,' but what he adds is question- 
able : ' This we may know, and with certainty, that it was some village or other, 
fam'd for boxing ; that the boxers fought in a ring or enclos'd circle, and that this 
ring was call'd — " Lipsbury pinfold."' Farmer suggests that it may be a cant 
phrase with some corruption, taken from a place where the fines were arbitrary. 
Steevens surmised that it might import the same as Lob's Pound; with which it 
seems to have no more connection than that ' pinfold ' means ' Pound ' and * Lob ' 
and ' Lipsbury ' begin with the same letter. ' Lob's Pound,' as is well known, means 
a place of confinement, whether a prison or the stocks. Nares's guess is perhaps 
as happy as any : ' It may be,' he says, ' a coined name, and it is just possible that it 
might mean the teeth, as being the pinfold within the lips? Collier's MS gives Fins- 
bury, where, says that editor, there must have been a pinfold, well known to Shake- 
speare's audiences ; and this word, through mishearing or misprinting, was corrupted 
to * Lipsbury.' Halliwell simply cites Nares; and Dyce says merely : ' & pinfold 
is a pound ; but what the commentators have written about the name Lipsbury is too 
unsatisfactory to be cited.' Wright thinks Nares's explanation the most probable 
which has yet been given, and adds : Similar names of places, which may or may 
not have any local existence, occur in proverbial phrases, such, for instance, as 
*Needham's Shore,' ' Weeping Cross.' 

act ii, sc. ii.] KING. LEAR 1 1 5 

a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred- 14 

14. three-suited] thread-suited Anon* fuited- hundred pound Y t . three-fuited, 
three - suited, hundred -pound] hundred pound FJFJF 4 {fhre FJ. 
three Jhewted hundred pound Qq. three- 

14. three-suited] Farmer? This should be third-suited, wearing clothes at 
third hand. Steevens : This might mean, one who had no greater change of rai- 
ment than three suits would furnish him with. So in Jonson's Silent Woman [IV, ii, 
p. 447, ed. Gifford] : ' thou wert a pitiful poor fellow, . • . and hadst nothing but three 
suits of apparel ;' or it may signify a fellow thrice-sued at law, who has three suits 
for debt standing out against him. Delius: This cannot refer to his poverty, but, 
rather, like ' glass-gazing,' signifies foppishness, changing his suits that many times, 
or else wearing them all at the same time. When Edgar describes his former 
wealthy state, he says of himself [III, iv, 129], 'who hath had three suits to his 
back.' Wright: If the terms of agreement between master and servant in 
Shakespeare's time were known, they would probably throw light upon the phrase. 
It is probable that three suits of clothes a year were part of a servant's allowance. 
In Jonson's Silent Woman, III, i, Mrs Otter, scolding her husband, whom she treats 
as a dependant, says, < Who gives you your maintenance, I pray you ? Who allows 
you your horse-meat and man's-meat, your three suits of apparel a year? your four 
pair of stockings, one silk, three worsted ?' [According to the Cambridge Editors, 
* Q,, Bodl. I,' has the misprint snyted, which is corrected in the other Qq to shewted. 
From this circumstance, Wright inferred not only that the enumeration of the Qq in 
the Cam. ed. was wrong, and that what he and his fellow-editor had there called Q, 
was in reality the earliest impression of all, but that < suit' in Shakespeare's day was 
pronounced shoot. He supposes that while the ' edition was in course of printing the 
error, snyted, was discovered, and the correction communicated verbally to the com* 
positor, who inserted it according to his own notions of spelling.' — Ellis's E. E. Pro- 
nunciation, p. 2 1 7. This hypothesis (which is certainly as old as Steevens), in regard 
to the pronunciation otsuit, Wright thinks is strengthened by the puns on suitor and 
shooter in Lovds Lab. Lost, IV, i, 109, &c, and also in Rowley's Match in the Dark 
(1633), II, i; but Ellis (p. 217) doubts whether these instances are enough to decide 
the point with certainty. ' Hurried corrections, whether of print or manuscript, fre- 
quently introduce additional errors, and hence there is no guarantee that the compositor 
who substituted shewted for snyted did not himself put shewted when "he meant to have 
inserted sewted, 1 * which would be a legitimate orthography for suited. 9 * In the present 
day we have a joke of an Irish shopman telling his customer to shoot himself, meaning 
suit himself. The Irish pronunciation, however, only shows an English pronuncia- 
tion of the XVTIth century* In England at the present day, shoot for suit would be 
vulgar, but the joke would be readily understood, though few persons use, or have 
even heard, the pronunciation. Might not this have been the case in Shakespeare's 
time ? At any rate, there is no authority for supposing that such a pronunciation 
could have been used seriously by Sh. himself.' In his essay on English Pronun- 
ciation in the Elizabethan Era (Sh. Works, xii, p. 430), White says : < S before a 
vowel had often the sound of sh, as it now has in sugar and sure. Such was its 
sound in sue, suit, and its compounds, and I believe in super and its compounds, and 
in supine and supreme. . . . S was also sometimes aspirated before o and i; of which. 
and of the sound of ew, see phonographic evidence in the pronunciation of sewer. 

1*0 KING LEAR [act n. sen; 

pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, aftkm- 15 
taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical 
rogue; one4runk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a 
bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the com- 
position of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and die son 

K ^- flHflVXnw^fl^AnunlfihBn^flnw^ I ^^BflR^Bttnw^nnnwSnnflflB att^^^fenVR AftncSflB^P ^EflBnM^P ^B ^baa^^^m n^^va ^^a 

Q* ■ l lMA ctt tV/r nwntn/ cet. 

X"*-* *V Rowe, Pope, Han. id. mfmmmamUe, /maOl Jk*~ 

4vjnflnM» a»oaw«nwjnwj x^q jmiw ^ol" 

hyphens, Qq. 17. ww ftnnl^nlrriff*j]«« 

15. 16, «**>«**** ■ l ir aim] Ff, W^VF^ No hyphen, Qq. 
Itowe* Pope, Hi*. Knt,Dyce,Sta. Sck> 

whka wis pronoeaced jaaw m the FTirirtrihan en, and thence down to the begin- 
ning of tJne present centery. .. . Hence, n^jaeldk wis spelled *uit&. Both spell- 
ings expressed the sane sonad.'] 

14. httadred-poaad] Simi» : A tens of reproach; see Middleton's PAamix 
[IV, iu, p* 393, ed. Dyce] : « How's tins? am I wed like a hundred-pound gentle* 
man?' Dtuvs snggesrs that it way neu one who weighs only a hundred pounds, 
and it therefore tolerably tight; bat the owotntion from Mkkheton, cited also by 
Delias* seems conclusive. 

15. worated-atockiiig] Simi» : The stockings in England in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth were remarkably expensive, and scarce any other kind than silk 
were worn, even, as says Stubbes in his A n**m it ff Ahtsts [p. 57, ed. Furnivall], 
by those who had not above forty shillings a year wages. So in Tailor's The Hog hath 
Z*tf 4*r /Wf [L i] x • Good parts, withont habiliments of gallantry, are no more set 
by in these tunes than a good leg in a woollen stocking.' Again in Bean, and Fl.'s 

jft> C^AitM [111, iii] : * senring^men with woollen stockings.' Malone : See 

aWo MivldtavM*** f%*nix [IV, ii, p. 380* ed. Dyce] : * Metreza Auriola keeps her 
love with half the cost 1 am at : her friend can go a* foot like a good husband, walk 
ill ww»ted stvvktn^s, and inquire for the six-penny ordinary.' 

\y lily-livered] See J**** \\ iii, 15. Weight: Compare 2 Hem. IV: IV, 
ill, 1 1 1 x * Th« sewnd property of your excellent sherris is, the warming of the blood ; 
xvhish. Mv^e cold And settled, left the liver white and pale, which is the badge of 
piullUulmttv and cowardice.* 

15. action-taking] Mason: A fellow who, if yon beat him, would bring an 
avium toi th? **uult» instead of resenting it like a man of courage. 

IP. Kl*«»«tsa«ing ] bYcixs : One who wastes his time in gazing at his own person 

10. •vipertervieeable] Johnson: Over-officious. Wright: It must also sig- 
liily one who wa* above hi* work. See Oswald's character as drawn by Edgar, 

IV. Vl, 4%\. 

If, one -Hunk -Inheriting] JOHNSON, supposing that ' trunk' here refers to 
\\\\\A hv*e, 9*}4*iu* thU as a * wearer of old cast-off clothes, an inheritor of torn 
tMWtheV Si ik vis* deques it as a fellow the whole of whose possessions are 
Vtmlinett to +»4 >\tf*>\ and that too imAtritot from his father. Schmidt sustains 
Utetveui'a tMmltUm* but qualities it by showing that * inherit' also means simple 
|tv4«'un>iV4 m in 1 V| vi % W$ \ % Itat to the girdle do the gods inherit' 

ACT XX, SC. il] 



and heir of a mongrel bitch ; one whom I will beat into 20 
clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy 

Osw. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to 
rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee 1 

Kent What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny 2$ 
thou knowest me 1 Is it two days since I tripped up thy 
heels and beat thee before the king? Draw, you rogue 1 
for, though it be night, yet the moon shines ; I'll make a 
sop o' th' moonshine of you, you whoreson cullionly bar- 
ber-monger, draw. 30 

20. one] Om. Qq. 

21. clamorous] clamours F,F,, Rowe. 
deniest] den/ft Ff. denie Q,. 

deny Q4. 

thy] the Qq. 

23. Why] Om. Qq. 

24. on one] against one Cap. MS.* 
that is] thafs Qq. 

26. days] days ago Qq, Theob. Warb. 
Johns. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Ktly, Glo. + , 

26, 27. tripped...thee] beat thee and 
tript vp thy heeles Qq. 

28. yet] Om. Qq, Cap. Mai. Steev. 

Bos. Sing. Ktly. 

29. sop] fop Theob. conj. (with- 

d th 1 ] otfe F f F t . oftheQq. 

of you] a 1 you Qq. 

you whoreson] Ff+, Knt, Sen. 
draw, you whorfon Qq et cet. 

cullion ly] cully only Qq. Cully enly 
F f F t . cully only Q s . CuUeinly F 3 F 4 , 
Rowe, Pope. 

barber.] Barbar- F t F^F 4 . 

30. [Drawing his sword. Rowe. 
barber • monger] barber- munger 


22. addition] Title; see Macb. I, iii, 106; Ham. I, iv, 20; II, i, 47. 

29. sop o' th' moonshine] Capell: A ludicrous phrase, importing that he 
would lay [Oswald] upon his back on the earth, like a 'sop' in a dripping-pan, for 
the moonbeams to baste him. Farmer : Perhaps here an equivoque was intended. 
In The Old Shepherds Kalendar, among the dishes recommended for Prymetyne, 
' One is egges in moneshine.' Nares : This probably alludes to some dish so called. 
There was a way of dressing eggs, called < eggs in moonshine.' [Nares here 
gives a receipt from May's Accompl. Cooh, p. 437, to which I refer the enthusiastic 
student It is sufficient to say that the eggs are fried in ' oyl or butter,' covered with 
slices of onions and seasoned with verjuice, nutmeg and salt; to be eaten with 
what appetite you may. A simpler receipt is given in N. 6* Qu. 4th S., xii, 19 July, 
1873 ; and, in the same volume, on p. 84, Royle Entwisle says that Nares's 
explanation is ' as constrained and shallow as his resort to a cookery-book ' ' is 
ridiculous and unnecessary ; and it was evidently arrived at without a thought being 
expended on Shakespeare's ideal knowledge of the orb of night, as revealed in his 
other allusions to it, notably in Macb. Ill, v, 23, 24.' ' Plainly, Kent's intention is 
to make a "sop " of him in the sense of steeping him, in his own blood, by the con- 
senting light of the moon.'] 

29. cullionly] Wright : Florio gives, < Coglione, a cuglion, a gull, a meacocke ; ' 
and in his Worlde of Wordes, * Coglione, a noddie, a foole, a patch, a dolt, a meacock.' 

30. barber-monger] Farmer : This may mean a dealer in the lower tradesmen; 


Osw. Away ! I have nothing to do with thee. 31 

Kent. Draw, you rascal You come with letters against 
the king, and take vanity the puppet's part against the 
royalty of her father. Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado 
your shanks 1 Draw, you rascal ; come your ways. 35 

Osw. Help, ho 1 murder. 1 .help 1 

Kent. Strike, you slave 1 -stand, rogue, stand ; you neat 
slave, strike t 

Osw. Help, ho I murder ! murder ! 

32. com* with] bring Qq. Pqpe+, Sch. rogue; stand, you Cap, 
34- royalty of her] royalty, her Cap. Knt, Cam. Wr. 

'35. shanks f] Sta. Jkankes, QqFC 37. stave,] slave; Knt 

skanhs— Rowe+. shanks: Cap. et cet 38. [Beating him. Rowe. 

37. rogue, stand; you] Jen. rogue, 39. murder I murder (]murther,mur± 

fiandyou QqF( t Rovre. rogue,stand,you ther. Ft murther, helpe. Qq. 

* alar upon the steward, as taking fees for a recommendation to the business of the 
family. Mason : A fop who deals much with barbers, to adjust his hair and beard. 
Moberly: A contemptuous extension of the word ' barber.' 

33. vanity] Johnson: Alluding to the old Moralities or allegorical plays, in 
which Vanity, Iniquity, and other vices were personified. 

33. puppet] Singer : A mere term of contempt for a female. 

34. carbonado] Dycr (Gloss.) : To cut cross- wise for broiling. 

37. neat] Johnson, who defines this by 'you mere slave, you very slave/ comes 
nearer to the true meaning, I think, than Steevens, although the latter has been fol- 
lowed by Dyce, Schmidt, Wright, and Moberly. Steevens thinks that ' it means 
no more than you finical rascal, you are an assemblage of foppery and poverty.' 
Then, by way of proof, Steevens cites Jonson in The Poetaster [IV, i] : 'By thy 
leave, my neat scoundrel.' But we must remember that this is spoken by Tucca, a 
blustering captain, whose speech is full of absurd epithets, and that it is addressed 
to Gallus, who, we know, is not a 'scoundrel,' and are not led to suppose that he is 

* neat ' in the sense of finical. On the contrary, it is more likely that Tucca uses 
'neat' in the sense which Walker (Crit. ii, 352) ascribes to it here, viz: that of 
pure, unmixed; still used in the phrase neat wine, &c. Singer suggests that it may 
mean 'you base cowherd.' Staunton has the following note: 'The sting in this 
epithet has been quite misunderstood by the commentators, who suppose it to 
mean mere or finical. For the real allusion, see Winl. Tate, I, ii, 123: "We 
must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, captain, And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf, 
Are all call'd neat" Sec also Taylor the Water Poet's Epigram on the Husband of 
Mrs Parnetl; " Neate can he talke, and feede, and neatly tread, Neate are his feete, but 
most neate is his head." ' But, as Wright says, this play on the word * neat ' would 
have no especial point as addressed to Oswald. Walker's interpretation is, I think, 
the true one. Rushton (Sh. Must, by Old Authors, p. 63) : « Because Leontes in 
Wint. Tate uses the word 'neat' in a sense implying the uncleanliness which is 
common to cattle, or those who tend them, therefore I have thought it probable that 

ACT II. SC. iL] 



Enter Edmund, with his rapier drawn. 

Edtn. How now ! Whafs the matter ? [Parting them. 40 
Kent. With you, goodman boy, if you please ; come, I'll 
flesh ye , come on, young master. 

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, and Servants. 

Glou. Weapons ? arms ? What's the matter here ? 
Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives I 
He dies that strikes again 1 What is the matter? 45 

Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king ? 

Enter... ] Ed. Enter Edmund with 
his Rapier drawne, Glocefter, the Duke 
and Dutchefle. Qq f Cap. (subs.), Glo. +, 
Enter Baitard, Coraewall, Regan, Glo- 
fter, Servants. Ff (Servant. F.FJFJ. 
Enter Edmund. Dyce i, conj. Sta. Dyce 
ii, Del. 

40. Scene vi. Pope+ f Jen. 

40, &c. Edm.] Baft. QqFf. 

40. [Parting them.] Dyce conj. Wh. 
(subs.), Glo.+. Ar/- Rowe+, Jen. 
ColL ii. Part. Ff et cet. Om. Qq, Del. 

41. if] and Q^. a* Sta. Glo. +, Mob. 
please; come] Theob. pleafe come, 

Qq. pleafe, come, Ff, Rowe, Pope. 

42. flesh] flea/h Qq. 

ye] Ff +, Glo. Dyce ii, Wr. Sch. 
you Qq et cet 

Enter Cornwall,...] Sta. Del. En- 
ter Gloster. Dyce ii. 

43. Weapons farms f] Weapons, armes 9 
Qq. Weapons I arms I Cap. 

Enter Cornwall, Regan, and Ser- 
vants. Dyce ii. 

44, 45. Keep.. Matter f] Cap. Prose. 
QqFf + , Jen. 

45. What is] whafs Qq, Pope +, Jen, 

46. messengers'] messenger Wh. 
aingf] King.Qq. 

Kent may mean that Oswald was like a tenant of neat land (terra viUanorum) ; that 
is, a base, dirty fellow.' 

40. Parting them] Dyce (Remarks, &c. p. 225) : Part of the Ff is undoubtedly 
4 stage-direction. This is clear from its interfering with the dialogues Edmund 
asks 'What's the matter?' and Kent immediately replies, ' With yon [1. e. 'the matter 
is with you, I will deal with you '], goodman boy,' &c That such a stage-direction 
is common in old plays, hardly perhaps requires to be shown ; one instance, however, 
may be given : ' Rich. Art thou content to breath ? [Fight Gr* part once or twist.'— 
A Pleasant Commodie, called Looke about you, 1600. Schmidt maintains that ' With 
yon ' in Kent's reply does not refer to ' What's the matter,' but to Part of the Folio, 
which is legitimately a portion of the text and no stage-direction. ' Part in Sh. means 
not only to separate, but also to go away, to depart. Edmund means it in the former 
sense, and Kent understands in the latter, and asks " With you ?" That Sh., in spite 
of a possible misapprehension, uses to part with in the sense of to go away with some- 
thing, a passage in Com. of Err. Ill, i, 66, proves : "Ang. Here is neither cheer, sir, 
nor welcome : we would fain have either. Bal. In debating which was best we shall 
part with neither." ' [This is very ingenious, but, I fear, not convincing. — Ed.] 

42. flesh] Schmidt (Lex.) : To feed with flesh for the first time, to initiate. [See 
line 118.] 

46. messengers] Dyce : Oswald is the messenger ' from our sister/ Kent the 
messenger from ' the king.' 



[act ii, sc. iL 



Corn. What is your difference ? speak. 47 

Osw. I am scarce in breath, my lord 

Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. 
You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee ; a tailor made 50 

Corn. Thou art a strange fellow ; a tailor make a man ? 

Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir; a stone-cutter or a painter 
could not have made him so ill, though they had been but 
two hours o* th' trade. 55 

Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel ? 

Osw. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spared 
at suit of his gray beard, — 

Kent. Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter!— 

47. What is] What! Q,. PVhafs Q,. 
difference? speak.] Rowe. dif- 
ference, fpeake f QqFf. 

49-52. No...manf] Prose, QqFf. Four 
lines, ending valour,.. An thee :.. fellow ; ? Cap. Ec. 

50. in] all share in Rowe+, Jen. 

52. man f] man. Qq. 

53. Ay,] I, Qq, Theob. Warb. Om. 
Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. Knt, Sch. 

sir ;] fir, Q a F 1 . sir f Rowe, Pope, 
Han. sir. Sch. 

54. they] hee Q x . he Q,, Glo+. 

55. hours] houres Qq. yearesF^FJF^ 
years F 4 , Rowe, Cap. Sch. 

& th'] F,F 4 +, Cap, Dyce, Wh. 
Sch. oth* FjF,. at the Qq et cet 

56. yet] you Pope, Han. Jen. 

57. This., spared] Prose, QqFf. One 
line of verse, Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, 
Coll. Del. Sing. Sta. Wh. Ktly, Sen. 

This] The F S F 4 , Rowe. 
ruffian] ruffen Q t . 

58. gray beard, — ] gray-beard. QqF t 
F a . gray beard. FF 4 . 

59. zed/] Zedd Q. C! Johns conj. 

50. disclaims in] In a note on Jonson*s Volpone, III, vi (p. 264, ed. Gifford, 
1 81 6), where this same phrase occurs, Gifford says that this expression is very com- 
mon in our old writers [it occurs again on p. 284 of the same play] ; it seems, how- 
ever, to have been wearing out about this time, since it is found far less frequently 
in the second than in the first impression of Jonson's plays; two instances of 
disclaim in occur in the Qto ed. of Every Man in his Humour, both of which in 
the Folio are simplified into disclaim. Schmidt : This is the only instance in Sh. 
of ' disclaim in.* 

50. a tailor made thee] Schmidt : Because the best of you is your clothes. 
Compare Cym. IV, ii, 81 : 'thy tailor, Who is thy grandfather; he made those 
clothes, Which, as it seems, made thee.' Thus also in the same play, III, iv, 51 s 
• Some jay of Italy Whose mother was her painting.' 

55. two hours] Schmidt prefers the ' two years ' of the Ff, which is assuredly, 
he says, a term of apprenticeship all too short for a sculptor or a painter. ' But the 
Editors appear to have had a different experience, and prefer the " two hours " of 
the Qq. An exaggeration of wit will sometimes ruin it.' 

56. yet] There is plausibility in Pope's emendation you. — Ed. 

59. zed] Steevens : Baret in his Alvearie omits this letter, as the author affirms 

ACT II, SC. ii.] 



My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this un- 60 
bolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes 
with him. — Spare my gray beard, you wagtail ? 

Corn. Peace, sirrah I — 
You beastly knave, know you no reverence ? 

Kent Yes, sir ; but anger hath a privilege. 05 

Corn. Why art thou angry ? 

Kent That such a slave as this should wear a sword, 
Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these, 
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain 
Which are too intrinse tf unloose; smooth every passion 70 

60. you will] you* I Q,. 

fwilf] Corrected to ru in Capell's 

61. waif] walks Q,. wals Q.. walls 
Cam. Wr. 

of a jakes] of a iaques Q s . of a 
laquesQ^. of a fakes F t F t . of a Jakes 

62. gray beard] gray-beard QJ^f, 

63. 64. Pcacc.revercnce t] One line, 

63. sirrah] JtrQq. 
[To Osw. Ed. conj. 

64. know you no reverence t] you haue 
no reuerence. Qq. 

65. hath] AoxQq,Cap. Mai. Steev. Bos. 
68. Who] That Qq. 

68, 69, as. ..a-twain] One line, Pope. 

68. as these] Om. Han. 

69. the holy] thofe Qq, Pope, those 

a-twain] a twaineF x Y 9 . in twain* 
Qq, Pope +, Jen. Steev. Mai. Ec. 

70. 'Which are too intrinse] Mai. 
Which are t' intrince, F f . Which art 
/' intrince, F t F s F 4 , Rowe. Which an 
to intrench^ Qq. Too intricate Pope, 
Jen. Too 'intrinsicate Theob. Warb. 
Johns. Ec Top intrinsick Han. Which 
are too intrince Cap. Too intresse or 
Too intrigue Sing. conj. 

f unloose;] to inloofe Qq. to un- 
loose,' Cap. Cam. 

smooth] sooth Pope+, Cap. 

it to be rather a syllable than a letter. [I have searched in vain for any such affirma- 
tion there. We are led to infer that Baret has omitted it because it is, like x, a com- 
pound letter, and therefore unnecessary. — Ed.] Farmer : This is taken from the 
grammarians of the time. Mulcaster says, ' Z is much harder amongst us, and seldom 
seen : — S is become its lieutenant-general. It is lightlie expressed in English, saving 
in foren enfranchisements.' Wright : Ben Jonson in his English Grammar says : 
• Z is a letter often heard among us, but seldom seen.' 

61. unbolted] Warburton : Unrefined by education. Tollbt : ' Unbolted mor- 
tar ' is mortar made of unsifted lime, and to break the lumps it is necessary to tread 
it by men in wooden shoes. ' Unbolted,' therefore, here means coarse, 

62. Spare, &c] Staunton : An acute stroke of nature : Kent in his rage forgets 
it was his life, not his beard, which the fellow pretended to have spared. 

69. holy cords] Warburton : By these < holy cords ' Sh. means the natural union 
between parents and children. The metaphor is taken from the cords of the sanc- 
tuary ; and the fomenters of family differences are compared to those sacrilegious rats. 

69. a-twain] For instances of adverbs with the prefix a.-, see Abbott, § 24. 

70. intrinse] Theobald, having found the word intrinsecate in Ant. and Cleop % 


122 KING LEAR [act n. sc. ii. 

That in the natures of their lords rebel ; 71 

Being oil to fire, snow to the colder moods ; 
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks 

71. natures] nature Pope + , Cap. Ec 72. fire] fiir Qq. 

rebel] QqFf, Rowe, Jen. Dyce, the] Ff, Cap. Sta. Sch. their Qq 

Ktly, Glo. + , Sch. rebels Pope et cet. et cet. 

72. Being] Ff, Rowe, Sch. Bring 73. Renege] F,F,F 4 . ^**7^Qq,Wh. 
Qq et cet. Reuenge F f . 

V, ii, 307, and in Jonson's Cynthia** Revels, V, ii (p. 327, ed. Giffbrd, 1816), adopted 
it here, and, deriving it from the Latin intrinsecus, ingeniously paraphrased it by 
'inward, hidden, perplext, as a knot hard to be unravelled.' Upton (p. 363) 
was the first to discover the modern reading under the disguise of the Ff, and, 
believing it to be a shorter form of intrinsecate, cited, as a parallel elision, ' reverbs 9 
for reverberate in I, i, 145. Ma lone added ' attent ' for attentive in Ham. I, ii, 193, 
and proposed to read, metrically, ' Like rats, oft bite those cords in twain, which 
are Too,' &c. ' The word ' intrinsic ate* he adds, ' was but newly introduced into 
our language when this play was written. See Marston's Scourge of Villanie [vol. 
iii, p. 245, ed. Halliwell] : " new-minted epithets (as reall, intrinsecate Delphicke)." ' 
Wright says it is ' difficult to 6ay how intrinsecate is formed. It seems to be a com- 
pound of intrinsic and intricate? which latter word is the definition Dyce ( Gloss,) 
gives of ' intrinse.' Wright says ' too intrinse ' means ' too tightly drawn.' 

70. smooth] Flatter; see Rom. 6* Jul. Ill, ii, 98, and notes. 

71. rebel] This may be either the plural by attraction (by the word * lords'), as 
Wright says ; or it may be that ' every ' is used as a plural, according to Abbott, 
§ 12. For the plural by attraction, see Ham. I, ii, 38, and notes. 

73. Renege] Nares: Deny, renounce; renego, Lat. [whence renegado.— 
Wright]. The g is pronounced hard. See Ant. 6* Cleop. I, i, 8, and Sylvester's 
Du Bartas The Battail of Yury [p. 551, ed. 1633] : 'All Europe nigh (all sorts of 
Rights reneg'd) Against the Truth and Thee, un-holy Leagued? [As an additional 
proof that the g is pronounced hard, Dyce calls attention to the spelling in the Qq. 
The word (with g hard) is still common enough among whist-players, in the sense 
of revoke. — Ed.] 

73. halcyon] Steevens : This is the king-fisher. The vulgar opinion was that 
this bird, if hung up, would vary with the wind, and by that means show from what 
point it blew. So, in Marlowe's yew of Malta, I, i : • But how now stands the 
wind? Into what comer peers my halcyon's bill?' Again, in Storer's Life and 
Death of Thomas Wolsey, Cardinall, a poem, 1599: 'Or as a halcyon with her 
turning breast, Demonstrates wind from wind, and east from west.' Again, in The 
Tenth Booke of Notable Things, by Thomas Lupton, ' A lytle byrde called the 
Kings Fysher, being hanged up in the ayre by the neck, his nebbe or byll wyll be 
alwaycs dyrect or strayght against ye winde.' [In Peck's New Memoirs of Milton, 
1740, p. 251, an extract is given from Sir Thomas Browne, in which the truth of this 
' conceit ' is disproved by ' reason ' and ' experience* By reason, because ' it seemeth 
very repugnant that a carcase or body disanimated should be so affected with every 
wind as to carry a conformable respect and constant habitude thereto.' By experience, 
because ' if a single kings-fisher be hanged up with untwisted silk in an open roome, 

ACTn,scilJ KING LEAR 12$ 

With every gale and vary of their masters, 

Knowing nought, like dogs, but following. 75 

A plague upon your epileptic visage ! 

Smile you my speeches, as I were a fool ? 

Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain, 

I 'Id drive ye cackling home to Camelot 

74. gale] gaU F t . 75. nought] naught F.F.F,, Dyce, 
vary] varry F s . veering Allen Wh. 

conj. MS. dogs] dayes Q x . dates Q,. 

75-77. Knowing... fool 7] Two lines, 77. Smile you] fmoyle you Q,. Smoil* 

the first ending epeliptuk, in Q f . you QJFJPJP r 

75. Knowing] As knowing Pope+, 78. if] and Q,. 

Cap. Steev. Ec. Bos. Sing. Ktly. And 79. drive ye] fend you Qq. drive you 

knowing Coll. ill (MS). Knowing of Cap. 

Anon.* Camelot] CamulelQ\. 

& where the aire is free, it observes not a constant respect onto the month of the 
wind ; but, variously converting, doth seldom breast it right. If two be suspended 
in the same roome, they will not regularly conform their breasts; but oft-times 
respect the opposite points of heaven.'] Dyce ( Gloss.) cites from Charlotte Smith's 
Natural Hist, of Birds, p. 88, in proof that the belief in a connection between the 
Halcyon and the wind still lingered in the cottages of England in 1807. 

74. vary] For instances of substantives of similar formation, see Ham, I, i, 57, or 
Abbott, § 451. Delius says, that it is connected in thought with 'gale,' and is 
equivalent to * varying gale;' wherein Schmidt agrees with him, and notes that 
•vary* as a noun in Sh. is found only here. 

76. epileptic] Johnson : The frighted countenance of a man ready to fall in a 
fit. Capell : This epithet is given to ' visage/ as if smiles had as much distorted it 
as such a fit would have done. Dycb (Gloss.) : The context shows that it means 
a 'visage distorted by grinning.' 

77. smile] The reading of all the Qq and Ff (except F 4 ) is so uniform, that 
it is hard not to believe that there is some corruption here, especially since, as 
Wright says, ' Sh. uses " smile" more than once with a direct object, but never in 
this sense.' If the word here be really ' smile,' it is difficult to understand why so 
plain a word should have been persistently misspelled. It is spelled correctly in all 
the Qq and Ff in the last line of this very scene. Collier's (MS) corrects to 
4 smile at,* and Keightley reads ' smile you at. 9 If the present text be right it 
comes under Abbott's § 200, where instances are given of the omission of prepo- 
sitions after some verbs which can be regarded as transitive, as in ' Thou swear*st 
thy gods,' I, i, 163.— Ed. 

77. as] Equivalent to as if For similar instances, see Ham. I, ii, 217; II, i, 
91 ; III, iv, 135 ; IV, v, 99. 

79. cackling] Oswald's forced laughter suggests to Kent the cackling of a 
goose. — Ed. 

79. Camelot] Hanmer : In Somersetshire, near Camelot, there are many large 
moors, upon which great numbers of geese -are bred, so that many other places in 
England are from thence supplied with quills and feathers. Warburton : This was 

124 KING LEAR [ 

Corn. What, art thou mad, old fellow ? 80 

Glou. How fell you out ? say that 
Kent. No contraries hold more antipathy 
Than I and such a knave. 

Corn. Why dost thou call him knave? What is his 

Kent. His countenance likes me not 85 

80, 81. What f ....out /] As one line, 84. Two lines, Ff. 

Steev. Bos. Knt, Sing. What is his fault] Ff+, Cap. 

81. out t say that.] Pope, out, fay Knt, Sing. Dyce i, Ktly, Cam. Sch. 
thatt QqFf, Rowe. What's his offence Qq et cet. 

the place where the romances say King Arthur kept his court ; so this alludes to 
some proverbial speech in those romances. Steevens : Thus in Drayton's PolyoU 
bion, The Third Song [p. 252, ed. 1 748] : ' Like Camelot, what place was ever yet 
renown'd ? Where, as at Caerleon oft, he kept the table round ?' [Besides these 
two places mentioned in this extract from Drayton, Camelot and Caerleon, there was 
a third place, Winchester, ' where,' as Selden says in his Illustrations to Drayton's 
Fourth Song, p. 259, * Arthur's table is yet suppos'd to be, but that seems of later 
date.' Capell apparently confounded these three, and maintained that Camelot 
was Winchester, and thence he inferred that the allusion in the text is to a « Win* 
Chester goose/ a cant name for a disgraceful ailment, mentioned in I Hen, VI: 
I, iii, 53 and Tro. cV Cres. V, x, 55. According to Selden, in another note on 
p. 254 : < By South-cadbury is that Camelot ; a hill of a mile compass at the top, 
four trenches circling it,' &c. . . . Antique report makes this one of Arthur's 
places of his Round Table.' Staunton explains the confusion concerning the 
different localities of Arthur's Round Table by showing that ' The History of King 
Arthur was so long in the completion that, while in one chapter (xxvi) Camelot is 
located in the west of England (Somersetshire), in another (xliv) it is stated that 
«« — Camelot is, in English, Winchester." At a still later period, when Caxton 
finished the printing of the Mort d* Arthur in 1485, he says of the hero: "And 
yet of record remain, in witness of him in Wales, in the town of Camelot, the great 
stones," ' &c. Staunton thinks it unnecessary to imagine with Warburton that there 
is any allusion to a proverbial saying in the old romances, but concludes with the 
following explanation of the present passage : ' In chapter xlix of Arthur's History 
the Quest of the White Hart is undertaken by three knights, at the wedding-feast of 
the king with the princess Guenever, which was held at Camelot. This adventure 
was encountered by Sir Gawayne, Sir Tor, and King Pellinore, and, whenever they 
had overcome the knights whom they engaged, the vanquished combatants were always 
sent " unto King Arthur, and yielded them unto his grace."' Dyce (Gloss.) thinks 
that there is here perhaps a double allusion, to the geese of Somersetshire, and to 
vanquished knights ; thus both Hanmer and Staunton are right. Halliwell does 
not believe that there is in the text • the slightest allusion to the birds called geese, 
excepting of course a metaphorical one.' It is doubtful whether a knowledge of the 
exact location of Camelot, upon which Staunton and others lay stress, would thrqw 
much light on this obscure passage.— Ed.] 

act ii. sc. ii.] KING LEAR 1 25 

Corn. No more perchance does mine, nor his, nor hers. 86 

Kent Sir, 'tis my occupation to be plain. 
I have seen better faces in my time 
Than stands on any shoulder that I see 
Before me at this instant 

Corn. This is some fellow, $Q 

Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affeft. 
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb 
Quite from his nature ; he cannot flatter, he,— 
An honest mind and plain, — he must speak truth ! 
And they will take it, so ; if not, he's plain. 95 

These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness 
Harbour more craft and more corrupter ends 
Than twenty silly-ducking observants 

86. does] do's Ff. doth Q, 94. An... .plain] he muft be plaine 

nor...nor] or...or Qq, Jen. Steev. Qq. 

Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. Ktly. 95. And] Ff. Sch. and Qq. An 

89. Than] That Q,. Pope et cet. 

stands] stand Pope+, Ec. take it, so] Rowe. take it fo Q a 

shoulder] shoulders Han. Ec. Ff. tak'tfoQ t . 

Cam. 96. plainness] ptainne/s. F t F 3 F 4 . 

90-99. This...nicely.] Nine lines, end- 97. more corrupter] far corrupter 

ingpraifd...ruffines t ... nature,.. .plaint,... Pope, Han. 

fo,...know,...craft,...ducking...nicely l Q<\. 98. silly-] silky Warb. Han. Jen. 

90. some] a Qq. silly-ducking] Ff, Dyce ii, Huds. 

92. roughness] ruffines Qq. filly ducking Qq et cet. 

93. cannot] can't Pope+. 

92. garb] Johnson : Forces his outside, or his appearance, to something totally 
different from his natural disposition. STAUNTON, by supposing that * his nature* in 
the next line means * its nature/ gives a different meaning to this sentence, a mean- 
ing which the Clarkes also see in it, and thus interpret : « Cornwall implies, in what 
he says of Kent, that he distorts the style of straightforward speaking quite from its 
nature, which is sincerity ; whereas he makes it a cloak for craft.' Wright : ' Garb ' 
denotes the outward address and manner, especially of speech. Compare Hen. V: 
V, i, 80; Cor. IV, vii, 44; Ham. II, ii, 354. And Jonson, Every Man out of his 
Humour, IV, iv : ' And there, his seniors give him good slight looks, After their 
garb, smile, and salute in French,' &c. 

96. These kind of knaves] Abbott, § 412 : The two nouns together connected 
by 'of ' seem regarded as a compound noun with plural termination. 

97. more corrupter] For instances of double comparatives, see Ham. II, i, ii, 
and note. See also below, line 143 ; II, iii, 7 ; II, iv, 106 ; III, ii, 64 ; Abbott, 
§ II, or Shakespeare passim. 

98. silly-ducking] Walker (Cril. i, 26) gives this as an instance where a com 
pound epithet has been resolved, by the majority of edd., into two simple epithets. 




[act ii, sc it 

That stretch their duties nicely. 

Kent. Sir, in good faith, in sincere verity, 100 

Under th* allowance of your great aspeft, 
Whose influence, like the wreath of radiant fire 
On flickering Phoebus 9 front, — 

Cdrn. What mean'st by this ? 

Kent To go out of my dialeft, which you discommend 
so much. I know, sir, I am no flatterer ; he that beguiled 105 
you in a plain accent was a plain knave; which; for my 
part, I will not be, though I should win your displeasure to 
entreat me to't 

100. faith t in] footh, or in Qq, Jen. 
Mai. Ec. sooth, in Steev.'oj, Bos. Coll. 
Del. Sing. St*. Wh. Ktly, Glo. Wr. 

101. great] grand Q,, Pope+ t Cap. 
Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. Sta. ground 

103. On] In Qq. Or Rowe, Pope. 
flickering] Pope, flittering Qq. 
(licking Ff. 

front, — ] front — Rowe. front. 


103. by] thou by Qq, Jen. MaL Ec 

104. dialed] dialogue Qq. 

105. he] but he H&n. 

beguiled] beguil'd FJF.. btguild 


107, 108. to entreat] that entreat Bad* 

108. td(] todt Q,F f F t . toitQ^ Cap. 
Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. Ktly. 

98. observants] Walker (Crit. ii, 348) : To observe is used in the strict sense of 
observare; whence observance, Schmidt (lex.) gives, among the meanings of 
' observe,' to reverence, to show respect to, to do homage ; see 2 Ken. IV: IV, iv, 30; 
Timon, IV, iii, 2x2. Wright : In Ham. Ill, i, 162, * The observed of all observers • 
means he to whom all courtiers pay court Hence ' observance ' is used for ceremony, 
as in Mer. of Ven. II, ii, 204. 

99. nicely] Malone : With the utmost exactness. Coleridge : In thus placing 
these profound truths in the mouths of such men as Cornwall, Edmund, Iago, &c, 
Sh. at once gives them utterance, and yet shows how indefinite their application is. 
Hudson : I may add that an inferior dramatist, instead of making his villains use 
any such vein of original and profound remark, would probably fill their mouths 
with something either shocking or absurd, which is just what real villains, if they 
have any wit, never do. 

101. great] Knight: The change from the Qq to the Ff was not made without 
reason. Although Kent meant to go out of his dialect, the word grand sounded 
ironically, and was calculated to offend more than was needful. 

101. aspect] Nares: Always accented on the last syllable in Sh. Delius: Here 
used in a secondary astrological sense, like ' influence ' in the following line. 

106. accent] Schmidt : Not seldom, as here, equivalent to speech, language. 

107, 108. though . • . to't] Johnson : Though I should win you, displeased as 
you now are, to like me so well as to entreat me to be a knave. Delius suggests 
that ' win your displeasure ' is Kent's stilted phraseology for * win you in your dis* 
pleasure? Wright compares it to the somewhat similar phrase ' some discretion/ 

act ii. sc.ii.l KING LEAR 1 27 

Corn. What was th' offence you gave him ? 

Osw. I never gave him any. 1 10 

It pleased the king his master very late 
To strike at me, upon his misconstruflion ; 
When he, compafl, and flattering his displeasure, 
Tripp'd me behind ; being down, insulted, rail'd, 
And put upon him such a deal of man, 115 

That ' worthied him, got praises of the king 
For him attempting who was self-subdued ; 
And in the fleshment of this dread exploit 
Drew on me here again. 

Kent. None of these rogues and cowards 1 20 

109. What was] Whafs Qq. 115, 1 16. man, That '] Ed. man, that 

1 10. I...any] Never any Han. Steev. That Q,, Theob. Warb. Johns. Jen. Mai. 
'93. man, that, that Q f . man, That Ff et cet. 

110-112. /... misconstruction ;] Two man Thatt Anon.* 
lines, the first ending master, Qq. I iS, Jleshment] Jlechuent Qq. 

111. late] lately Rowe,+ dread] dead FT, Rowe. 
113. compact] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Coll. 1 1 9. again] Om. Steev. '93. 

Del. Sing. Dyce i, Wh. Ktly, Sch. con* 120, 121. None...fool] One line, Qq. 

iuncl, Qq et cet. 

II, iv, 145. Schmidt considers ' yonr displeasure ' as the opposite to the usual style 
of address, • your grace.' 

113. compact] Collier: Whether 'compact* or « conjunct/ it means in concert 
with. • Schmidt : Perhaps the word pack, a troop, a band, was not without its in- 
fluence in the use of this word ; ' compact ' might suggest compaeked. 

1 14. down, insulted] For the omission of the noun before a participle — 1 . e. * I 
being down,' see Abbott, § 378, and for the omission of the nominative — 1. e. he 
insulted/ see § 400. [In this latter instance, we might perhaps explain the absence 
of the nominative he by its absorption in the first syllable of ' insulted.' — Ed.] 

115. 116. such • • • That] For similar instances, see Abbott, §279, or Macb. 
IV, iii, 222. 

116. That' worthied] This is an instance of that absorption of it in the final t 
of • That,* first pointed out by Allen in this edition of Rom. and Jul, p. 429, and 
virtually suggested in this line by Anon., whose conjecture is recorded in the Cam- 
bridge edition. To the instances there given, add : « at ' height,' Ham. I, iv, 21 ; 
« with ' blood,' Ih. I, v, 65 ; see also ' Prescribe not ' us,' Lear, I, i, 275. For a long 
list of transitive verbs focmed from nouns and adjectives, such as ' worthied,' see 
Abbott, § 290.— Ed. 

117. him attempting] Delius: That is, « For attempting him who,' &c. 

liS. fleshment] Henley: A young soldier is said Xojlesh his sword the first 
time he draws blood with it. ' Fleshment/ therefore, is here metaphorically applied 
to the first act of service, which Kent, in his new capacity, had performed for his 
master; and, at the same time, in a sarcastic sense, as though he had esteemed it an 
heroic exploit to trip a man behind that was actually falling. 



[act ir, sc. ii 

But Ajax is their fool. 

Corn. Fetch forth the stocks I — 121 

You stubborn, ancient knave, you reverend braggart, 
We'll teach you — 

Kent. Sir, I am too old to learn ; 

Call not your stocks for me. I serve the king, 
On whose employment I was sent to you. 125 

_ * 

I You shall do small respe&s, show too bold malice 
. Against the grace and person of my master, 
• Stocking his messenger. 

Corn. Fetch forth the stocks ! As I have life and honour, 

121. Ajax] A'lax Qq. Aiax F t . 
their] there F t . 

fool] /oil Warb. Han. 
Fetch. . Mocks f] Fetch. ..Stocks t 
Ff (Stockist F 9 ). Bring...ftockes hot 
Qq. Jen. Fetch. ..stocks, hot Steev. Ec. 
Var. Sing. Sta. Ktly. 

122. stubborn, ancient] stubborn-an- 
dent, Walker (Crit. 1,27). 

ancient] mifcreant Qq. 

reverend] rev* rend Pope, rever- 
ent Q,Ff, Rowe, Knt. vnreuerent Q^, 

123. you — ] Theob. you. QqFf, Del. 

Sir] Om. Qq. 

123-125. Sir,] Two lines, 
the first ending me, Qq. 

125. employment] imploymeni Ff, 
Rowe + t Jen. imployments Q,. imploi* 
ments Q,. 

126. shall] should Qq. 

respects] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sch. 
refpect Qq et cet. 

128. Stocking] Stepping Qq. 

129, 130. Fetch noon.] As in Qq, 

Dyce, Glo. + . Two lines, the first end- 
ing flocks; in Ff et cet. 

129. stocks /] flockest Q,. flockes; 
Q.F,. Stocks; F f F 3 F 4 . 

As I have] As Fve Sing. 
and honour] Om. Han. 

121. Ajax] Heath: Such a plain, blunt, brave fellow as Ajax was, is the per* 
son these rascals always choose to make their butt, and put their tricks upon. Ca« 
pell : Ajax is a fool to them, videlicet in bragging. [I much prefer CapelPs inter- 
pretation, although Schmidt queries if Heath be not right. The a in « Ajax,' was 
pronounced long, Sir John Harington in the Prologue to his Metamorphosis of 
Ajax says, that « it agrees fully in pronunciation ' with « age akes ' — 1. e. aches, and 
Ben Jonson (vol. viii, p. 248, ed. Gifford) makes it rhyme with ' sakes.' — Ed.] 

123. Sir] For instances of what Abbott calls ' a kind of " burr," which produced 
the effect of an additional syllable/ see § 47S, and also II, i, 92. 

126. shall] For instances of • shall' for idill, see Abbott, § 315, Macb. HI, iv, 
57; Ham. I, ii, 120; I, iv, 35. Also Lear I, i, 34. 

126. respects] If the text of the Qq was written down during a stage perform* 
ance, the ear probably confounded the final * in « respects,' with the following s in 
« show/ although to do respect is quite as Shakespearian as to do respects. The best 
reason for adopting the Qq text here, would be the omission of an s in a line which 
is quite full of then.— Ed. 

128. Stocking] Compare ' worthied/ line 116. 

ACT XT, SC. iL] 



There shall he sit till noon. 130 

Reg ' Till noon ! ' till night, my lord, and all night too ! 

Kent Why, madam, if I were vour father's dog 
You should not use me so. 

Reg. Sir, being his kiiave, I will. 

Corn. This is a fellow of the self-same colour 
Our sister speaks o£ — Come, bring away the stocks ! 135 

{Stocks brought out 

Glou. Let me beseech your grace not to do so ; 

* His fault is much, and the good king his master 

* Will check him fort. Your purposed low corre£Kon 

* Is such as basest and contemned'st wretches 

* For pilferings and most common trespasses 140 

* Are punishM with ; * the king must take it ill. 
That he. so slightly valued in his messenger, 

131. noon/] noone?Yl. noone, Qq. 

132. 133. Why,..Jo.] Prose, Qq. 

133. should"] could Qq, Pope +, Jen. 

134. self-same colour] fame nature 
Qi. f elf e fame nature Q,, Pope +, Jen. 

135. speaks of] fpeake of '(^.Jpeakes 

Come] Om. Pope, Han. 

[Stocks brought out.] As in 
Dyce, Wh. Glo. +. Alter line 132 in 
Ff et cet Om. Qq. 
137-141, His...vrith;] Om. Ff,Rowe. 

138. purposed] purpoft Q^. 

139. contemned'st] Cap. temne/lQq* 
the meanest Pope +• 

139-141. Is...with\ Two lines, cht 
first ending pilf rings. Qq. 

141. the king must] The King hit 
M(ifler y needs muft Ff, Rowe. 

142, 143. he, so....Should] he fo..~ 
Should F t F t . hetsfo...fhould Qq. he's 
fo...Should F 3 F 4> Cap. Steev. Var. Sta. 

Glo. he 1 * so... To Rowe, Pope, Han. 

131. Cowden Clarke: Very artfully is this speech thrown in. Not only does 
it serve to paint the vindictive disposition of Regan, it also serves to regulate dra- 
matic time by making the subsequent scene where Lear arrives before Gloucester's 
castle and finds his- faithful messenger in the stocks, appear sufficiently advanced in 
the morning to allow of that same scene closing with the actual approach of ' night, 9 
without disturbing the sense of probability. Sh. makes a whole day pass before our 
eyes during a single scene and dialogue, yet all seems consistent and natural in the 
.course of progression. 

135. bring away] Schmidt: Sh. frequently uses 'bring away 9 and 'come 
away ' as equivalent to ' bring here 9 and ' come here.* As in the well-known song, 
« Come away, come away, death. 9 

135. Stocks brought out] Dyce: In the Folio this stage-direction is placed 
two lines earlier, and it no doubt stood so in the prompter's book, that the stocks 
might be in readiness. Farmer : Formerly in great houses, as still in some col- 
leges, there were moveable stocks for the correction of servants. 

137. much] For instances of this as an adjective, see Schmidt (Lex. 1.) 



[ACT n» 8C U. 


Should have him thus restrained 

Corn. I'll answer that 143 

Reg. My sister may receive it much more worse, 
To have her gentleman abused, assaulted, 145 

* For following her affairs. — Put in his legs.* 

Corn. Come, my lord, away. {Exeunt all but Gloucester 

and Kent. 

GUm. I am sorry for thee, friend ; 'tis the duke's pleasure, 
Whose disposition, all the world well knows, 
Will not be rubb'd nor stopp'd. I'll entreat for thee. 1 50 

Kent. Pray, do not, s{r. I have watch'd and travelTd 
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle. 
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels ; 
Give you good morrow ! 

144. much more] yet much Han. 
145* gentleman] Gentlemen Q x . 

146. For..Jegs] Om. Ff, Rowe. 
Put in his legs.] A stage-direc- 
tion. Seymour. 

[Kent is put in the stocks. Pope. 
After line 142, Rowe. 

147. Corn. Come] Ff, Rowe, Sch. 
Continued to Reg. Qq et cet. 

lord] good lord Q ff Jen. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Sta. Glo.+, Dyce ii. lord, let's 
Cap. conj. MS.* 

[Exeunt..:] Dyce. Exit. Q,Ff. 
Om. Q,. 

148. Scene vi. Pope, Han. Scene 
vii. Warb. Johns. Jen. 

/ am] Pm Pope+ f Dycc H* 

dukes] Duke F f . 

150. rubb'd] rubd Qq. rub'd F,. 
ruled Anon.* 

151. Pray] Pray you Qq. 

I have] Pve Pope+, Jen. Dyce 
ii, Huds. 

traveWd] traveled F 3 F 4 . tra* 
uaild Qq. trauaWd F t F a . 

152. Some time] Sometime Q z , Jen. 
out] ont Q t . 

143. Should] Abbott, § 399, following the text of F ? F 4 in the preceding line, 
supposes that there is here an ellipsis of the nominative : * ( That he or you) should/ 

144. more worse] See line 97. 

150. rubb'd] Warburton: A metaphor from bowling. [See Macb. Ill, i, 133, 
and note.] 

153. at heels] Eccles: Perhaps he intends to say that to a good man may arise 
prosperity and advantage from circumstances seemingly ignominious ; or ' at heels ' 
may relate to the disgraceful punishment which he is undergoing. Hudson : I am 
not certain as to the meaning of this. A man set in the stocks was said to be ' pun* 
Sshed by the heels ;' and Kent probably alludes to this. But what I am in doubt 
about is, whether he means that a good man may build his fortune on such an event, 
or that the fortune even of a good man may have holes in the heel of its shoes ; as 
we say * out at the toes,' or ' out at the elbows.' [Is it not likely that Kent jocosely 
means that what is usually but a metaphor is with him a reality ? — Ed.] 

154. Give you] Schmidt: A greeting used only by common people* 


act n, sc. ii.] KING LEAR 1 31 

_ • * 

Glou. [Aside.*] The duke's to blame in this ; 'twill be ill 

taken. [Exit. 155 

Kent. Good king, that must approve the common saw. 
Thou out of heaven's benediftion comest 
To the warm sun ! 

155. [Aside.] Sta. Om. QqFf, et be ill taken. Cap. conj. MS. (with, 
cet. drawn).* 

The...taken.] Two lines, Ff. 155. taken] tooke Qq. 

to blame] too blame Q.F.F,. [Exit.] Om. Q t . 

'twill.. Jaken.] [toEdm.] 'twill 157. Thou] That Johns. 

156. common saw, ftc] Hanmjer: An old proverbial saying applied to those 
who are turned out of house and home, deprived of all the comforts of life excepting 
the common benefits of the air and sun. Johnson : It was perhaps used of men 
dismissed from an hospital, or house of charity, such as was erected formerlyin many 
places for travellers. Those houses had names properly enough alluded to by heaven* s 
benediction. Capell : This saw occurs in one capital passage of Holinshed, and is 
there applied to such persons as, going about to make matters better, make them worse, 
and that is Kent's application of it : — Lear, says that speaker, who thinks to mend 
his condition by leaving his eldest daughter and coming to Regan, will find himself 
in that person's error who foregoes the benediction of heaven for the common and 
weak blessing of the warm sun ; such opinion had he now entertained of Regan's 
superiority in badness. [This * capital passage ' from Holinshed Capell gives in his 
Notes, vol. iii, p. 40: 'This Augustine after his arrivall converted the Saxons indeede 
from Paganisme, but as the Proverb sayth, bringing them out of Goddes blessing into 
the warme sunne, he also imbued them wyth no lesse hurtfull superstition then they 
did knowe before.'] Tyrwhitt: This « saw* is in Heywood's Dialogues on Prov- 
erbs, Book ii, chap, v : ' In your rennying from hym to me, ye runne Out of gods 
blessing into the warme sunne.' [This quotation from Heywood is given by Capell 
also (Notes, vol. iii, p. 493), whose text I have followed. — Ed.] Malone: See 
also Howell's Collection of English Proverbs, in his Dictionary, 1660: • He goes out 
of God's blessing to the warm sun, viz. from good to worse. 9 WRIGHT : Compare 
«!so Lyly's Euphues and his England (ed. Arber, p. 320) : ' Thou forsakest Gods 
blessing to sit in a warm Sunne.' The proverb is reversed in the Letters of Euphues 
(ibid. p. 196): 'Therefore if thou wilt follow my aduice, and prosecute thine owne 
determination, thou shalt come out of a warme Sunne into Gods blessing.' Both 
Walker (Crit. iii, 277) and Dyce (Gloss.) note the use of the proverb as late as 
Swift. [See Ham. I, ii, 67, where some notes in reference to this 'saw' will be 
found. I think Hunter's zeal carries him too far when he proposes the same 
origin to this proverb and to Beatrice's « sunburnt' in Much Ado, II, i, 331. His 
theory is that * the first and original use of this phrase [' sunburnt'] denoted the state 
of being unmarried ; thus Beatrice uses it. It then expanded so as to include the 
state of those who were without family connections of any kind ; thus Hamlet uses 
it. It expanded still wider and included the state of those who have no home, and 
thus it is used in Lear' But this is mere theory, ingenious, but unsupported by 
proof; no attempt is made to explain, by examples, the change of application from 
unchurched women to homeless men. Moreover, Lear is not yet homeless. — Ed.] 

132 KING LEAR [act ii, sc iL 

Approach, thou beacon to this under globe, 

That by thy comfortable beams I may 160 

Peruse this letter ! Nothing almost sees miracles 

But misery. I know 'tis from Cordelia, 

159-166. Approach remedies.] In 1 62. misery. I know) miferie. / 

the margin, Han. know Ff, Rowe+, Ktly, Sch. miseru, 

159. under globe"] vnder gloabe Q,. / know Qq. misery, I know.— Jen. 

vnder-globe Q t , Tbeob. Warb. Johns. misery: — I know or misery /— 1 know 

[Looking up to the moon. Cap. et cet. 
Pope + , Jen. [Reading the letter. Johns. 

161. miracles'] my wracke Qq. Opening the letter. Jen. 

161, 162. Nothing. . . misery] Capell: Kent breaks out into a reflection, 
rising from his condition, — that people born to ill-fortune, like himself, and living 
under her frown, are the only persons almost who can be said to see miracles, so 
wonderful are the situations, sometimes, which she is pleased to reduce them to. 
Hudson : I am very much in the dark as to what the text means. Of course the 
literal sense is, ' hardly anything but misery sees miracles ; * but the question is, what 
are the particulars referred to, or what are the miraculous things to be seen in this 
case ? and why is misery said to see them? I suspect that < see ' is used in the sense 
of experience; a sense it often bears. In that case the meaning may be, < miracles 
are hardly ever wrought but in behalf of the wretched.' And upon this thought 
Kent seems to be building a hope of better times, both for himself and the old king ; 
while, on the other hand, nothing short of a miraculous providence seems able to 
turn their course of misfortune. Delius : That Cordelia should have thought of 
him, or that her letter should have reached him, seems to him such a miracle as only 
those in misery experience. 

162-166. Cordelia . . . remedies] Johnson: The passage is very obscure, if not 
corrupt. Perhaps it may be read thus : 

*— — Cordelia — — has been — — Informed 
Of my obscured course, and shall find time — — 
From this enormous state-seeking, to give 
Losses their remedies/ 

Cordelia is informed of our affairs, and when the enormous care of seeking her /or* 
tune will allow her time, she will employ it in remedying losses. Jennens was the 
first to suggest that Kent reads fragments of Cordelia's letter. His text reads thus * 

♦ 'Tis from Cordelia, [ Opening the letter. 

Who has most fortunately been inform'd 

Of my obscure course — — and shall find time [Reading parte of the letter. 

From this enormous state ^—seeking to give 

Losses their remedies.— All weary and o'er-watched/ &c. 

Capell: Kent expatiates upon his letter; tells you he knows it is from Cordelia by 
some circumstances of it's delivery ; and it's coming from her is to him a plain proof 
that she has (as he words it) been fortunately informed of his obscured course : And 
here a shorter pause follows; and after it, a sentence not perfected, of which * who' 

is the substantive, and to raise us (viz. the king and himself) words wanting to 

it's completion : words that may be collected, and put in after ' time,' though drop'd 
by one in search of conciseness, and bury'd in ruminating. Steevens thus adopts 

ACT n, SG ll] 



Who hath most fortunately been inform'd 
Of my obscured course ; and shall find time 


164. course; and'] course. And Ff, 
Wh. Sch. courfe, and Qq, Johns. Jen. 
course, I Rowe+. 

1 64- 1 66. and. . .time From. . .state, seek' 
ing... remedies.] QqFf [remedies, Qq), 
Johns. Cap. Glo.+, Dyce ii, Mob. /... 
time For.. ..State, and seek.... remedies. 
Rowe. /...time From.. Mate, and seek.., 
remedies. Pope, Theob. Warb. and.., 
time From. .Mate — seeking... remedies.—' 
Jen. (in italics with the stage-direction 
[Reading parts of the letter). Steev. '78, 
'85 (but without the stage-direction), 
White (subs, but with quotation-marks 

instead of italics). Huds. (subs, follow- 
ing Wh.). and. .-.dime From...jlate, — 
seeking.. . remedies : MaL Steev. '93, Ec. 
Bos. Knt, Coll. Del. Dyce i (remedies. 
Coll. remedies — Del. Dyce i). and... 
time From... .state, — seeking, — ....reme- 
dies. Sing, and she'll find time From... 
state-seeking,.. ..remedies. Sta. and..* 
time, — From. .Male, — seeking...remedies. 
Ktly. ' And..jtime — From.. Male—seek- 
ing.. .remedies . Sch. 

164, 165. shall....From\ $kdtt....For 

and amplifies Jennens's suggestion (without, however, any acknowledgement of in- 
debtedness) : I confess I do not understand this passage, unless it may be consid- 
ered as divided parts of Cordelia's letter, which he is reading to himself by moon- 
light : it certainly conveys the sense of what she would have said. In reading a 
letter, it is natural enough to dwell on those circumstances in it that promise the 
change in our affairs which we most wish for ; and Kent, having read Cordelia's 
assurances that she will find a time to free the injured from the enormous misrule of 
Regan, is willing to go to sleep with that pleasing reflection uppermost in his mind. 
But this is mere conjecture. Malonb does not think that any part of Cordelia's 
letter is, or can be, read by Kent. ' He wishes,' so Malone continues, « for the rising 
of the sun that he may read it.' I suspect that two half lines have been lost between 
the words < state ' and * seeking.' This * enormous state ' means, I think, the confu- 
sion subsisting in the state in consequence of the discord which had arisen between 
the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall; of which Kent hopes Cordelia will avail her- 
self. Mason thus paraphrases it: 'I know that the letter is from Cordelia, (who 
hath been informed of my obscured course,) and shall gain time, by this strange 
disguise and situation, which I shall employ in seeking to remedy our present losses.' 
Tieck (vol. ix, p. 366) thinks that the poet wishes here only to call Cordelia to 
mind, and give us a hint that wholly new events are about to happen. When 
Kent says only misery sees miracles, he means that he, disguised as a common man, 
has already witnessed the wickedness of Goneril, the unhappy condition of the king, 
he himself, a nobleman, has been stocked like a low, common rogue, and yet it is 
possible for him to exchange letters with Cordelia. At the word * remedies,' sleep 
overpowers him, and the sentence is not completed. Collier : We are to recollect 
that Kent, having a letter from Cordelia in his hand, is endeavoring to make out its 
contents by the imperfect light ; he is unable to see distinctly, and hence, perhaps, 
part of the obscurity of the passage. He can only make out some words, and those 
not decisively, but sufficiently to enable the audience to judge of the general tenor 
of what he is trying to read. Singer says that Kent finds he cannot follow his train 
of thought for weariness, and so breaks off and settles himself to sleep. White 
follows Jennens in thinking that Kent here drowsily reads disjointed fragments of 
Cordelia's letter. White also follows the Ff in putting a period after course, line ^64. 


134 KING LEAR [act n, sc. iL 

From this enormous state, seeking to give 165 

Losses their remedies. All weary and o'er-watch'd. 

Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold 

This shameful lodging. 

Fortune, good night ; smile once more ; turn thy wheel ! 


165. enormous] enormious Qq. Ff, Rowe, Coll. i, Wh. 

166. o'er-watch'd] o're-watch'd Ff. 169. smile. ..turn] Johns. Smile once 
cuerwatch Q t . ouer-watcht Q^. o'er* more, turn Ff, Rowe+, Cap. Smile, 
watch' d! Walker. once more turne Qq. Smile; once more 

168. This....lodging] Separate line, turn Coll. ii. 

Pope. [Sleeps.] fleepes.Q x . Hefleepes. 

168, 169. This. ..night] One line, Qq Q a . Om. Ff. 

Delius suggests that • to deliver us,' or some similar phrase, is to be supplied after 
• state. 9 Staunton thinks that no part of the letter is read, but amends the text thus : 

* Of my obscured course, and she'll find time 
From this enormous state-seeking, to give/ &c 

4 The slight change of she'll for '•shall" appears to remove much of the difficulty; 
that occasioned by the corrupt words " enormous state-seeking " will some day prob- 
ably find an equally facile remedy.' Cowden Clarke thinks that the speech is 
made purposely confused to indicate the situation of Kent, that ' who/ having been 
once expressed before * hath/ is understood before * shall/ and that this portion of 
the speech is a series of disjointed sentences imperfectly uttered by the speaker, the 
breaks in them indicating that he is dropping off to sleep. Dyck : Of this obscure 
and, it may be, corrupted passage, no satisfactory explanation or emendation has yet 
been given. 

164. time] Bailey (ii, 90) proposes to read ' shall find balm For this enormous 
state/ and offers instances to show • Shakespeare's familiarity ' with the word balm 
at the time he was writing this tragedy. It is but Just to add, that Bailey does not 
consider this emendation as ' more than fairly probable.' 

165. enormous] Johnson : Unwonted, out of rule, out of the ordinary course 
of things. Bulloch (p. 242) suggests endormouscd. 

169. smile] Collier (ed. 2) : Kent does not mean to ask Fortune to smile once 
more ; but to smile, and when smiling, to turn her wheel once more. 

169. Dowden (p. 271) : Kent possesses no vision, like that which gladdens Ed- 
gar, of a divine providence. His loyalty to right has something in it of a desperate 
instinct, which persists in spite of the appearances presented by the world. Sh. 
would have us know that there is not any devotion to truth, to justice, to charity 
more intense and real than that of the man who is faithful to them, out of the sheer 
spirit of loyalty, unstimulated and unsupported by any faith which can be called 
theological. Kent, who has seen the vicissitude of things, knows of no higher 
power presiding over the events of the world than fortune. Therefore, all the 
more, Kent clings to the passionate instinct of right-doing, and to the hardy temper, 
the fortitude which makes evil, when it happens to come, endurable. The ' mira- 
cle ' that Kent sees in his distress is the approaching succour from France, and the 
loyalty Qf Cordelia's spirit. ... It is Kent who, characteristically making the best of an 

ACT II, SC. ill.] 



Scene III. The same. 

Enter Edgar. 

Edg. I heard myself proclaim'd ; 
And by the happy hollow of a tree 
Escaped the hunt No port is free ; no place, 
That guard and most unusual vigilance 
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may 'scape 
I will preserve myself; and am bethought 
To take the basest and most poorest shape 

Scene hi.] Steev. Scene vh. Pope, 
Han. Scene vih. Johns. Scene iv. 
Ec The scene continued, QqFf, Rowe, 
Warb. Cap. 

The same.] Sch. A part of a 
Heath. Theob. A part of the neigh- 
bouring country. Ec. The open country. 
Dyce. A wood. Sta. 

Enter Edgar.] Enter Edgar, at a Dis- 

tance. Cap. 

I. / heard] I heart Qq. / have 
heard F 4 , Rowe. rve heard Pope + , Fo 

4. unusual] unu/all Q a F t F t . 

5. Does] Do's Ff. Doft Qq. 
taking,] taking Qq. 

Whiles] While Qq, Cap. Steev. Ec 
Var. Coll. Del. Sing. Dyce, Wh. Ktly. 
7. most] the Pope+. 

unlucky chance, exclaims, as he settles himself to sleep in the stocks : * Fortune, 
good-night ; smile once more, turn thy wheel.' 

156-169. Of this soliloquy Birch (p. 414) whose volume, written to prove that 
Sh. was an atheist, is a rare tissue of perverted ingenuity, says that, though it is 
rather unintelligible when taken in an ordinary sense, it is comprehensible enough 
taken as a medium for Sh. to express his impiety. Instead of those religious senti- 
ments so commonly recurred to, at the coming of night, and in the midst of mis* 
fortune, Kent shows a neglect of Providence. [Birch forgets that Kent couldn't 
say, ' Now I lay me ' when he was in the stocks. See Prov. xxvi, 5. — Ed.] 

Scene III.] Schmidt follows this division of scenes, 1 * which dates merely from 
Pope, under protest ; it is only on account of the confusion that would ensue in. 
references to scenes and lines were his edition different from all other modern edi. 
tions. In the Ff, Scenes ii, iii, and iv of this act form but one: Scene ii; and this 
indicates the ancient usage. Only with the departure of all the characters did. tho 
scenes change. Therefore, continues Schmidt, since Kent remains asleep on the 
stage, the monologue which now follows was preceded merely by « Enter Edgar,* 
and there can be no doubt that Edgar, contemplating flight, entered in the twilight 
on the same scene where Kent was lying in the stocks — namely, before Gloucester?* 

4. That] Wricht : Loosely used for * Where,' the preposition * in ' being omitted 
at the end of the sentence. Compare I Hen. VI: III, ii, 25 : 'No way to that, for 
weakness, which she entered * ; that is, by which she entered. Schmidt says that it 
stands for but that, or simply but. 

6. am bethought] Schmidt: Only here, in Sh.; elsewhere, have bethought, 

7. most poorest] See II, ii, 97. 

136 KING LEAR [act u. sc. in. 

That ever penury in contempt of man 

Brought near to beast; my face I'll grime with filth, 

Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots, 10 

And with presented nakedness out-face 

The winds and persecutions of the sky. 

The country gives me proof and precedent 

Of Bedlam beggars, who with roaring voices 

& ever] every Rowe, Han. Bos. %i. winds] windes F t F r wind Q,. 

10. elf] elfe ¥ s . elfe QqF,. put F*F 4 . winde Q,. 

hair] haire Qq. kaires F t F r persecutions] perfecution Qq. 

hairs Fj. 13. precedent] Johns, prefident QqFf. 
in] with Qq, Cap. 

8. in contempt] Moberly : ' Wishing to degrade a man.' So Milton's ' in spite 
of sorrow ' means ' in order to spite sorrow.' 

10. elf] Matted or tangled hair was supposed to be the work of fairies in the 
night. See Rom. 6* Jul. I, iv, 90. 

14. Bedlam beggars] Many passages from old authors are cited by modern 
editors to show what these < Bedlam beggars ' were, and many more might be cited ; 
and yet, after all, none of them contain so good a description of Bedlamites as 
that given in these few lines of Edgar's speech. That ' poor Tom* was their uni- 
versal name is shown in the first paragraph of Awdeley's Fratcmifye of Vaca- 
Sondes, 1565 : 'An Abraham man is he that walketh bare armed, and bare legged, 
and fayneth hym selfe mad, and caryeth a packe of wool, or a stycke with baken 
on it, or such lyke toy, and nameth himselfe poore Tom.'— ed. Early Eng. Text 
Soc. p. 3. The great authority in regard to « Vagaboncs ' is Harman's 'Caueat or 
Warming for Commen Cvrselors,' ed. ii, 1567, also reprinted by the E. E* Text Soc. 
Dekker in his Belman of London * conveyed ' largely from Harman; one passage, 
cited by Steevens, so strongly corroborates Shakespeare's description that it may 
perhaps be worth the while to reprint it here (three editions of this Belman appeared 
in 1608, the year in which Learvras first printed): ' Of all the mad rascalls (that 
are of this wing) the Abraham-man is the most phantastick : The fellow (quoth the 
old Lady of the Lake vnto me) that sat halfe naked (at table to-day) from the 
girdle vpward, is the best Abraham-man that euer came to my house, the notablest 
villaine : he sweares he hath bin in Bedlam, and will talke frantickly of purpose : 
you see pinnes stuck in sundry places of his native flesh, especially in his armes, 
which paine hee gladly puts himselfe to (beeing indeede no torment at all, his skin 
is either so dead with some fowle disease, .or so hardned with weather) onely to 
make you beleeue he is out of his wits : he calls himselfe by the name of Poore 
Tom, and comming neere any body, cryes out, Poore Tom is a cold. Of these Abra- 
ham-men some be exceeding mery, and doe nothing but sing songs, fashioned out 
of their owne braines; some will dance, other will do nothing but laugh or weepe; 
others are dogged and so sullen both in looke and speech, that spying but small 
company in a house, they boldly and bluntly enter, compelling the seruants through 
feare to giue them what they demaund, which is commonly bacon, or something that 
will yeelde ready mony. The Vpright-man and the Rogue are not terribier ene- 
mies to poultry ware than Poore Tom is.' 


act II. sc. iii.] KING LEAR 1 37 

Stick in their numb'd and mortified bare arms 15 

Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary ; 

And with this horrible objeft, from low farms, 

Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes and mills, 

Sometimes with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers, 

Enforce their charity. Poor Turlygod ! poor Tom ! 20 

That's something yet ; Edgar I nothing am. \Exit. 

15. Stick] Walker. Strike QqFf et 19. Sometimes]F(^ t Jet^Sch. Some- 
cet. time Qq et cet. 

bare] Om. Ff, Rowe, Sch. sometime] fometimes F t F s F 4 +, 

16. wooden] wodden Q x F t F,. Jen. 

17. farms] feruiee Qq. 20. their] reer Warb. conj. 

18. sheep-eotesl/keep-eoalesQq. Steeps- Turlygod] Turlygood Theob. 
Coates F,. Sheepes-Coates F a . Sheep's- Warb. Johns. Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. 
Coats F s . Sheeps-Coats F 4 . Del. Sta. Dyce ii, Huds. Turluru Han. 

15. Stick] Dyce, who, with all other editors, reads Strike in, says that it is 
'equivalent to Strike into; but Walker (Crit. ii, 36) proposes, with great proba- 
bility, " Stick in." ' The probability is so great that I have adopted it— Ed. 

15. mortified] Deadened, hardened. See the quotation above from Dekker's 

16. pricks] Mason: The Euonymous, of which the best skewers are made, is 
called prick-wood 

18. pelting] Nares: A very common epithet, with our old writers, to signify 
paltry or contemptible. 

19. bans] Wright 1 In Med. Latin bannum was used to denote, first, an edict or 
proclamation, hence, a summons, or an interdict. The original sense in English 
only* remains in the publication of the * banns of marriage,' and the word* has most 
commonly the secondary meaning of the curse pronounced against the violation of 
an interdict. 

20. Turlygod] Warburton: We should read Turlupin. In the fourteenth cen- 
tury there was a new species of gipsies, called Turlupins, a fraternity of naked beg- 
gars, which ran up and down Europe. However, the Church of Rome hath dignified 
them with the name of Hereticks, and- actually burned some of them at Paris. [In 
regard to their religion LiTTRfe says : ils soutenaient qu'on ne doit avoir honte de 
rien de ce qui est naturel.] Plainly, says Warburton, nothing but a band of Tom- 
o'-bedlams. Douce : There is a better reason for rejecting Warburton's Turlupin 
and Hanmer's TurluHk than for preferring either, viz: that 'Turlygood* is the eor- 
rttptedvrord in our language. The Turlupins were first known by the names Beg- 
hards, or Beghins, and brothers and sisters of the free spirit. The common people 
alone called them Turlupins, a name which seems obviously to be connected with 
the wolvish howlings which these people, in all probability, would make in their re- 
ligious ravings. Their subsequent name of the fraternity of poor men might have 
been the cause why the wandering rogues, called Bedlam beggars, assumed or ob- 
tained the title of Turlupins or Turlygoods, especially if their mode of asking alms 

was accompanied by the gesticulations of madmen. Turlupino and Turluru are old 



[act ii, sc in 

Scene IV. The same. 

Enter Lear, Fool, and Gentleman. 

Lear. Tis strange that they should so depart from home, i 
And not send back my messenger. 

Gent. As I learn'd, 

The night before there was no purpose in them 
Of this remove. 

Kent. Hail to thee, noble master I 

Lear. Ha ? 5 

Scene rv.] Steev. Scene vm; Pope, 
Han. Scene ix. Warb. Johns. Jen. 
Scene v. Ec. The Scene continued in 
QqFf, Rowe, Cap. 

The same.] Sch. Changes again 
to the Earl of Glo'ster's Castle. Pope. 
Before Gloucester's castle. Mai. Dyce 
adds Kent in the stocks. 

Enter...] Enter King, and a Knight. 
Q t . Enter King Q f . 

I. home] hence Qq. 

a. messenger] Mejfengen FjF,. 
2-4. As,. .remove.'] Two lines, the first 
ending was, Qq. 

3. in them] Om. Qq. 

4. this] his Qq. 

Kent.] Kent. [Waking.] Sta. 

5. Haf] Ha, F 4> Rowe, Pope, Han. 
How, Qq, Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. 

5,6. Haf... pastime f]Steev.'$3. One 
line, QqFf, Sta. 

Italian terms for a fool or madman ; and the Flemings had a proverb, 'As unfortunate 
as Turtupin and his children* NARES : Seemingly a name for a sort of beggar de- 
scribed in the preceding lines. I cannot persuade myself that this word, however 
similar in meaning, has any real connection with tur lupin, notwithstanding the au- 
thority of Warburton and Douce. It seems to be an original English term, being 
too remote in form from the other to be a corruption from it. Collier (ed. 1) t 
Perhaps ' Turlygood ' is a corruption of Thoroughfygood. We know nothing of any 
Turlupins (at least by that name) in England. 

20, 21. Tom! . . . am.] Walker (Crit. iii, 277): So Rich. II: V, i, 92, 93, 
4 short ' — ' heart.' What extent of license did Sh. allow himself in his rhymes ? 
[This question has been answered by Ellis (Early Eng. Pronunciation, iii, 953) 
in a list of Shakespeare's rhymes and assonances. In this list there are eleven in* 
stances (of which four are in this play) of short a rhyming with short o 9 viz : the present 
instance, and foppish, apish, I, iv, 161, 163; corn, harm, III, vi, 41, 43; departure, 
shorter, I, v, 48, 49; dally, folly, R. o/L, 554; man, on, Mid. N. D. II, i, 263, also 
III, ii, 348 ; crab, bob, lb. II, i, 48 ; pap, hop, lb. V, i, 303 ; cough, laugh, lb. II, i, 
54; heart, short, part, Love's Lab. V, ii, 55.] 

21. am] Ritson: In assuming this character, I may preserve myself; as Edgar 
I am inevitably gone. 

The same.] See Schmidt's note, II, iii, and Capell's note on I, v, 1. 

3. night before] Cowden Clarke calls attention to the effect of advancing day 
which is given by this allusion, thereby allowing ' the progress of dramatic time to 
take place with sufficient rapidity for the spectators to be beguiled into easy cre- 
dence, when, at the close of the present long scene, Gloucester says, "The night 
comes on/' and Cornwall soon after observes, " Tis a wild night." ' 

ACT n, SC. IV.] 



Makest thou this shame thy pastime ? 

Kent. No, my lord 6 

Fool., Ha, ha! he wears cruel garters. Horses are tied 
by the heads, dogs and bears by th' neck, monkeys by th* 
loins, and men by th' legs; when a man's over-lusty at* 
legs, then he wears wooden nether-stocks. IO 

Lear. What's he that hath so much thy place mistook 
To set thee here ? 

Kent. It is both he and she : 

Your son and daughter. 

Lear. No. 

Kent. Yes. 15 

Lear. No, I say. 

6. this] Om. Pope, Han. thy Theob. 
Warb. Johns. 

thy] ahy F t . 

Kent No, my lord,] Om. Qq. 
7-10. Ha y ...nether- stocks.] Five lines, 
ending gar(ers t ....b* .legs,.... 
Jlockes, Qq. 

7. Ha % ha f] Hah, ha, F t . 

he] Ff +, Knt, Dyce, Sta. GI0.+, 
Sch. look, he Qq et cet. 

cruel] Cruell F t F a . crewtll Qq. 
crewel F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Cap. 

tied] tide tide F t . 

8. heads] heeles Qq. head Bos. Coll. 

Del. Dyce, Wh. 

8. 9. by th'] F F 4 +, Jen. Wh. Sch. 
byt'hQ t . by" th' F f F,. ^M*Q,etcet 

9. man's] Q a , Jen. Dyce, Glo.+. 
mans Q f . man F s . man is F a F s F 4 et 

at'] Ed. at QqFf et cet 

10. wooden] wodden F t F 9 . 
nether-stocks] neatherftoches Q^. 

neather-Jlockes Q,. nether socks Heath. 

11, 12, Wha?s..Jiere?] Rowe. Prose, 
Qq. Three lines, ending he,...miftook 
..Jieere? Ff. 

12, 13. It.., daughter.] One line, Qq. 

7. cruel] 'the similarity in sound between this word and creivel is, as Collier 
says, a fruitful theme for jokes in the old dramatists. Would it not be better to print 
crewel in the text ? Halliwell : This word was obvious to the punster, and is un- 
mercifully used by the older dramatists. A pun similar to that in the text is in one 
of L'Estrange's anecdotes : — A greate zelote for the Cause would not allow the Par* 
liament's army to be beaten in, a certaine fight, but confest he did beleeve they might 
be worsted. To which linsy-wolsey expression, a merry cavaleere reply'd, • Take 
heede of that, for worsted is a cruell peece of stuffe.' 

8. by the heads] Both in the Ff and in Q x the 'the' before 'heads' and heeles 
is not contracted, while it is contracted in every other instance in this speech. Can 
any inference be drawn from this that the h was not aspirated ? — Ed. 

9. at' legs] An absorption of the definite article; see II, ii, 116. 

10. nether- stocks] Steevens : The old word for stockings. Breeches were called 
cverslockes, according to Baret's Alvearie [x. v. Breeches ; also called upper stockes, 
as in the following quotation]. Heywood, among his Epigrams [p. 204, ed. Spen- 
ser Soc* — Wright], has these lines : *Thy vpper stocks be they stufte with sylkc or 
flocks, Neuer become the lyke a nether payre of stocks.' 

11. 12. 80 . • • To] See I, iv, 36. 

140 KING LEAR [act u, sc. iv. 

Kent. I say, yea. 17 

* Lear. No, no, they would not 

* Kent. Yes, they have.* 

Lear. By Jupiter, I swear, no! 30 

Kent By Juno, I swear, ayt 

Lear. They durst not do't ; 

They could not, would not do't ; 'tis worse than murder, 
To do upon respe& such violent outrage ; 
Resolve me with all modest haste which way 
Thou mightst deserve, or they impose, this usage, 25 

Coming from us. 

Kent. My lord, when at their home 

I did commend your highness' letters to them, 
Ere I was risen from the place that show'd 
My duty kneeling, came there a reeking post, 
Stew*d in his haste, half breathless, panting forth 30 

From Goneril his mistress salutations ; 
Delivered letters, spite of intermission, 

f 7. / say % yea.'] But I say, yea. 25. impose] purpofe Qq. 

Han. Cap. 28. shov/d] shtvtd Pope. Jhmed 

18, 19. Lear. Nb...have.] Om. Ff +, QqFf, Rowe. showed Coll. iii, Seh. 
Cap. 29. came there] came Pope +. there 

21. Kent. By. ..ay. Lear.] Om. Qq. came Jen. (a misprint ?) 

21. 22. do % t..Mdt] do it.. Jo it Q^ 30. panting] painting F t . 

22. could...would] vtould...could Qq, 31. salutations] falutation'FJF J? A + 9 
Jen. Cap. 

25. mights/] ma/JiQ^. maift Q^ 32. Delivered] Deliuered Qq. 

23. upon respect] Singer was the first to give the true explanation of this 
phrase : < deliberately or upon consideration. 9 Edwards, Heath, and Johnson all 
interpreted it as referring it to the ' respect ' or reverence due to the king's mes- 
senger. Malone supposed that 'respect' was personified. Singer referred to 
Ham. Ill, i, 68. Wright agrees with Singer, and cites a convincing passage from 
King John, IV, ii, 214 : ' To know the meaning Of dangerous majesty, when per- 
chance it frowns More upon humour than advised respect.' ' That is, rather capri- 
ciously than deliberately. Bacon frequently uses " upon " in similar phrases. See 
Glossary to the Essays, ed. Wright* 

24. modest] Schmidt {Lex.) : Filling up the measure, neither going beyond, 
nor falling short of what is required, satisfactory, becoming. As much haste as may 
consist with telling the full truth. See also IV, vii, 5. 

25. 26. Thou . . . Coming] Abbott, § 377 : That is, « since thou comest.' The 
participle is sometimes so separated from the verb that it seems to be used absolutely. 

25. usage] According to Schmidt, onlyused by Sh. in the sense of treatment. 
32. intermission] Capell: Message intermediate. Though he saw me then 


Which presently they read ; on whose contents 33 

They summoned up their meiny, straight took horse ; 
Commanded me to follow and attend 35 

The leisure of their answer; gave me cold looks. 
And meeting here the other messenger, 
Whose welcome, I perceived, had poison'd mine- 
Being the very fellow which of late 

Displayed so saucily against your highness— 40 

Having more man than wit about me, drew; 
He raised the house with loud and coward cries. 
Your son and daughter found this, trespass worth 
The shame which here it suffers. 
Fool. Winter's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way. 45 
Fathers that wear rags 

33. whose] thofe Ff, Rowe, Pope, 41. drew] I drew Rowe +, Cap. Ec 
Han. Knt 44. The shame] This Jhame Qq. 

34. meiny] meineyT?^F r men Qq, Jen. 45-53- Om. Qq. 

37. And] f, Jen. 45. Winter f s] Winters F M F k . 

39. which] that Qq, Cap. Mai. Steer. wild] wiTd F t . 

Bos. Sing. Ktly, Glo.+. 4&-51. Three lines, Ff, Rowe, Knt 

in the action of presenting a prior letter. Steevens : Without pause, without suffer* 
ing time to intervene ; so in Macb. IV, iii, 232. Cowden Clarke : ' In defiance of 
pause required/ for him to take breath or for me to rise from my knee and receive my 
answer. We think this interpretation is borne out by the only three other passages 
in which Sh. uses this word. Mer. of Ven. Ill, ii, 201, As You Like It, II, vii, 32, 
and Macb, Schmidt : Though my business was thus interrupted and the answer 
delayed which I was to receive. [In colloquial phrase, * in spite of " first come, first 
aerved." '—Ed.] 

33. presently] Immediately. See Sh. passim. 

34. meiny] Pope: People. Mason: The word menial, which is derived from 
it, is still in use. Knight: In the old translation of the Bible we find: 'And 
Abraham saddled his ass, and took two of his meyny with him, and Isaac his son.' 
In our present translation, we have young men in place of « meyny.' Wright : 
Cotgrave gives : ' Mesnie : f. A meynie, famUie, household, household companie, or 
seruants.' Mobe&ly : Nares quotes the French proverb, < de tel seigneur telle 
mesnie.' It is supposed to occur in the late Latin forms <mainada,' 'mainata' 
(familise piratarum quae mainatse dicuntur), and this may be true if, as Diez sup- 
poses, it is connected with the low Latin ' mansionata.' It should however be re- 
marked that ' meyny ' means ' within ' in old Cornish ; whence * mayn,' a friend, 
plural * mayny.' [For its use in Chaucer and Spenser see Corson's note on line 
1057 in his ed. of The Legende of Goode Women.] 

41. drew] Abbott, § 399 : Where there can be no doubt what the nominative is, 
1t is sometimes omitted. But (§401) a nominative in the second person plural, or 
first person (as here, * (I) drew '), is less commonly omitted. See also II, ii, 114. 

142 KING LEAR [ACT II, SC iv. 

Do make their children blind 47 

But fathers that bear bags 

Shall see their children kind. 
Fortune, that arrant whore, 50 

Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.— 
But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolours for thy 
daughters as thou canst tell in a year. 

Lear. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart I 
Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow, 55 

Thy element's below ! — Where is this daughter ? 
Kent With the earl, sir, here within. 

52,33. this,.. .daughters] this, it foU 54. up toward] up to Jen. 

lows......daughters dear Coll. ii (MS), 55. Hysterica] Hiftorica Qq, F^ 

reading 52, 53 as four lines of rhyme. Hyflorica F_. 

52. dolours] Dolors F x F a F r 57, 58. With...not ;] One line, Steev. 

52. for thy] for thy deare F,. for '93, Bos. Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. Dyce, 

iky dear F S F 4 , Rowe, Pope, from thy Wh. Ktly, Glo. 

dear Theob. Han. Warb. Cap. Jen. Ec. 57. here] Om. Qq. 
from thy Sing. Ktly. 

52. dolours] Steevens : The same quibble on ' dolours ' and dollars occurs in 
Temp. II, i, 18, and Meas. for Meas. I, ii, 50. 

52. for] For other instances of * for ' equivalent to * on account of/ see Macb. 
Ill, i, 120, or Abbott, § 150. 

53. tell] Wright: Count or recount, according to the sense in which * dolours 9 
is understood. 

54. mother] Percy: Lear here affects to pass off the swelling of his heart, ready 
to burst with grief and indignation, for the disease called the Mother, or Hysterica 
Passio, which, in our author's time, was not thought peculiar to women only. In 
Harsnet's Declaration of Popish Impostures, Richard Mainy, Gent, one of the pre- 
tended demoniacs, deposes, p. 263, that the first night that he came to Denham, the 
seat of Mr. Peckham, where these impostures were managed, he was somewhat evill 
at ease, and he grew worse and worse with an old disease that he had, and which 
the priests- persuaded him was from the possession of the Devil, viz. ' The disease 
I spake of was a spice of the Mother, wherewith I had bene troubled . . . before my 
going into Fraunce : whether I doe rightly term it the Mother or no, I know not. . . . 
When I was sicke of this disease in Fraunce, a Scottish doctor of physick then in 
Paris, called it, as I remember, Vertiginem Capitis. It riseth ... of a winde in the 
bottome of the belly, and proceeding with a great swelling, causeth a very painful 
collicke in the stomack, and an extraordinary giddines in the head.' It is at least 
very probable, that Sh. would not have thought of making Lear affect to have the 
Hysterick Passion, or Mother, if this passage in Harsnet's pamphlet had not suggested 
it to him, when he was selecting the other particulars from it, in order to furnish out his 
character of Tom of Bedlam, to whom this demoniacal gibberish is admirably adapted. 
RlTSON : In p. 25 of the above pamphlet it is said, ' Ma : Maynie had a spice of the 
Hysterica passio, as seems, from his youth, he himselfe termes it the Moother' 

ACT II, sc. !▼.] KING LEAR 1 43 

Lear. Follow me not ; stay here. \ExiL 58 

Gent. Made you no more offence but what you speak of? 

Kent None.- 60 

How chance the king comes with so small a number ? 

Fool. And thou hadst been set i' th' stocks for that 
question, thou'dst well deserved it 

Kent. Why, Fool ? 

Fool. We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee 65 
there's no labouring i' th' winter. All that follow their 

58. here."] there t Q t . there. Q^. 62. And'] Q,Ff, Rowe, Sch. If Q^ 
[Exit.] Om. Qq. An Pope et cet. 

59. Made...oft] Two lines, Ff, Rowe, 62, 66, 83. V M*] F t F s F 4 +, Jen. Wh. 
Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. Sch. UN F a . in the Qq. V the Cap. 

but] then Qq. et cet. 

60,61. None...number f\ None: Now 63. thou 9 dst] Ff+, Jen. Sing. Wh.. 

...number? Ff+, Knt, Sing. Dyce i, Ktly, Sch. thou had)* Q<{ tt ctt 
Ktly, Sch. No, kow...traine f Qq et cet. deserved] deserve Pope. 

61. chance the] chanceth the Anon. 

61. chance] The conclusion that Abbott, § 37, draws from many instances is 
that, perhaps, Sh. used ' chance ' as an adverb, but unconsciously retained the order 
of words, which shows that, strictly speaking, it is to be considered as a verb. 

65. We'll set, ftc] M alone: 'Go to the ant, thou sluggard/ says Solomon, 
' consider her ways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, pro- 
vided* her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.' [Proverbs, vi, 
6-8.] If, says the Fool, you had been schooled by the ant, you would have known 
that the king's train, like that sagacious animal, prefer the summer of prosperity to 
the colder season of adversity, from which no profit can be derived. Schmidt t 
Elsewhere Sh. uses ' to set to school ' in the sense of to teach. 

66. All that follow, ftc] Johnson : There is in this sentence no clear series 
of thought. If he that follows his- nose is led or guided by his eyes, he wants no 
information from his nose. I persuade myself, but know not whether I can persuade 
others, that Sh. wrote : 'All men are led by their eyes but blind men, and they follow 
their noses, and there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking.* 
Here is a succession of reasoning. You ask why the king has no more train ? Why, 
because men who are led by their eyes see that he is ruined, and if there were any 
blind among them, who, for want of eyes, followed their noses, they might by their 
noses discover that it was no longer fit to follow the king. Steevens : ' Twenty ' 
refers to the ' noses ' of the ' blind men,' and not to the men in general. The passage, 
thus considered, bears clearly the very sense which the above note endeavors to 
establish by alteration. For 'stinking,' Mason maintained that we should read 
sinking, because ' it would be nothing extraordinary that a nose should smell out a 
person that was " stinking." What the Fool wants to describe is the sagacity of 
mankind in finding out the man whose fortunes are declining.' Malone, however, 
vindicated the present text by showing that the same simile is applied to fallen for- 
tunes in All's Well, V, ii, 5 : Mankind, says the Fool, may be divided into those 



[act ii, sc iv. 

noses are led by their eyes but blind men ; and there's not 67 
a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking. Let 
go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it 
break thy neck with following it But the great one that 70 
goes upward, let him draw thee after. When a wise man 
gives thee better counsel, give me mine again ; I would have 
none but knaves follow it, since a Fool gives it 

That sir which serves and seeks for gain, 

And follows but for form, 75 

Will pack when it begins to rain, 

And leave thee in the storm. 
But I will tarry ; the Fool will stay, 

And let the wise man fly ; 
The knave turns fool that runs away ; 80 

The Fool no knave, perdy. 

68. twenty] a loo Q t . a hundred Q.. 

70. following it.] following. Ff, Rowe, 
Pope, Han. Knt, Sch. 

71. upward] Ff+, Cap. Knt, Wh. 
Sch. vp the hill Qq et cct. 

him] it Han. 

72. thee] Om. Jen. 
have] haufe F f . 

74. That sir] That, Sir, F 4 , Rowe, 
Johns. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. 
Wh. That Sir, F t F t F^ Theob. Cap. 
Coll. Del. Ktly. 

which] that Qq. 

74. and seeks] Om. Qq, Pope+, Cap. 
74-81. That. ...perdy.] Italics in Q+ 
Roman in Q s Ff. 

76. begins] begin Q, 

begins to rain] 9 gins rain Cap. 

77. the storm] a Jtorm F 4 , Rowe, 
Pope, Han. 

78. But] And F S F 4 , Rowe, Pope, 

79. wise man] wifeman F t F a F 3 , Sch. 
81. [Enter Lear, and Gloster. Ff. 

(Glower. F a .) 

who can see and those who are blind. All men, but blind men, though they follow 
their noses, are led by their eyes ; and this class of mankind, seeing the king ruined, 
have all deserted him. With respect to the other class, the blind, who have nothing 
but their noses to guide them, they also fly equally from a king whose fortunes are 
declining ; for, of the noses of twenty blind men, there is not one but can smell him 
who, ' being muddied in fortune's mood, smells somewhat strong of her strong dis- 
pleasure.' Halliwell : The word • twenty ' does not, I think, refer solely to the 
noses of the blind men. The Fool says Kent deserves to be put in the stocks for his 
silly question, for not looking which way the wind blows, for being too simple. He 
says that all men who follow their noses are led by their eyes, blind men excepted. 
Kent, according to his notion, has not used his eyes, and therefore he deserved the 
stocks. Not a nose of any kind but smells him that's stinking ; and he infers that 
Kent had neither used his eyes to see, nor his nose to smell ; in short, had not made 
use of his senses. 

74. sir] For many other instances of the use of 'sir' as a substantive, see 
Schmidt (Lex.). 

80, 81 . The • • . perdy] Johnson : The sense will be mended if we read : ' The 

ACT II, SC. iv.] KING LEAR 1 45 

Kent. Where learned you this, Fool ? 8a 

Fool. Not i* th f stocks, fool ! 

Re-enter Lear, with GLOUCESTER. 

Lear. Deny to speak with me ? They are sick ? they 
are weary? 

83. fool] Om. Qq. 84. They are. ...they are] th f ore.* 
Re-enter...] Cap. Enter Lear and tk 9 are Qq. the/re..Jhe/re Pope+* 

Glofter. Qq. Jen. Dyce ii, Huds 

Scene ix. Pope, Han. Scene x. sick ?... weary f] Johns. Jieke,.* 

Warb. Johns. Jen. weary t QqFf + , Cap. 

84. Deny. ..weary /] Two lines, Ff. 

fool turns knave, that runs away The knave no fool — .• That I stay with the 
king is a proof that I am a fool, the wise men are deserting him. There is knavery 
in this desertion, but there is no folly. Collier (ed. ii) adopted this change by 
Johnson (which is also found in his Folio MS), and upholds it thus : ' In the old 
editions the very contrary of what Sh. intended is expressed. The reasoning in the 
earlier part of the rhyme is that, when it begins to rain, wise men fly to shelter, but 
fools stay; and it ought to be followed up by the statement that, if the fool runs 
away, he turns kaave, and that the knave, being no fool, will not be so silly as to 
remain in the wet.' But Collier, in his Third edition, returns to the old read- 
ing. Both Heath and Capell adopted Johnson's change in the first of these 
two lines; and in the second, Heath suggested 'The fooVs no knave, perdy/ 
White : No transposition is necessary, if, as I believe, ' knave ' in line 80 is used ii* 
the sense of servant, in line 81 of rogue, while ' fool/ in line 80, has the reproachful, 
sense it has in the Bible, and in line 81 is but the official title. Hudson : The Fool 
seems here to be using the trick of suggesting a thing by saying the opposite. 
Clarke : Sh., in his own noble philosophy, here affirms that the cunning rogue who* 
deserts his benefactor in the time of reverse, from motives of prudence, shows him- 
self fool as well as knave, moral miscalculator as well as moral coward. Moberly :. 
The touching faith of the Fool to his master is one of the most beautiful points of the- 
play. The history of court-fools does not offer anything quite like it. It, however,, 
took six strong men to drag away Patch, Cardinal Wolsey's Fool, from his disgraced' 
master, who wished to send him as a propitiatory offering to Henry VIII. Wright 1 
The text requires no alteration. The Fool points out who the real fools in the world 
are. Coleridge said a knave is a fool with a circumbendibus. [I think the meaning, 
is made clearer by showing the difference, by means of capital letters, as White 
does, between the generic fool and the specific Fool. — Ed.] 
81. perdy] The corruption of par Dieu. See Ham. Ill, ii, 282. 

83. Not i' th' stocks, fool] Schmidt thinks that this ' fool ' is not a mere retort, 
but is really meant, according to the song, as a title of respect, which Kent has 
earned by his fidelity to the king. 

84. Deny] Schmidt {Lex.) : To refuse. Compare Rom. G* Jul. I, y, 16 : « which 
of you all Will now deny to dance ?' 

13 K 



[act n, sc. iv. 

They have travell'd all the night ? Mere fetches, 85 

The images of revolt and flying off! 
Fetch me a better answer 

Glou. My dear lord, 

You know the fiery quality of the duke ; 
How unremoveable and fix'd he is 
In his own course. 90 

Lear. Vengeance! plague! death! confusion! 
4 Fiery ? • what ' quality ? ' Why, Gloucester, Gloucester, 
I'ld speak with the Duke of Cornwall and his wife. 

Glou. Well, my good lord, I have inform'd them so. 

Lear. 4 Inform'd ' them ? Dost thou understand me, man? 95 

Glou. Ay, my good lord. 

Lear. The king would speak with Cornwall The dear 
Would with his daughter speak, commands her service. 

85. have travelVd] haue trauail'd 
F,F,. have travel' d Y % . trawled Q, . 
traueldQ a . 

all the'] hard to Qq, Stecv. Ec 
Var. Coll. Sing. 

85, 86. fetches, The] Ff+, Jen. Coll. 
Wh. Sch. Iuflice, I the Qq. fetches; 
ay. The Cap. conj. (Notes, i, Var. 
Read. p. 29.) fetches all — The Steev. 
conj. fetches these : ThtYsXy. fetches; 
The Cap. et cet. 

87. Fetch] Fet F 3 F 4 . Bring Pope+. 

87-93. My dear...wife.] Prose, Qq. 

9 I. plague! death f] Plague, Death, 

Ff. death, plague, Qq. 

92. • Fiery r what 'quality?'} what 
fiery quality; Qq. Jen. Ec. Fiery 9 
what fiery quality t Pope + . 

Gloucester, Gloucester]-- Glqfter, 
Ghfter QqFf; Gloster Pope+. 

94,95. Om,Qq. 

97. the dear father] Separate line, Ff 

98. commands her service] Qq. com 
mands, tends, fervice Ff, Knt. com* 
mands tends service Rowe i. commands, 
tends service Rowe ii. commands, 'tends 
service Scb. 

85. fetches] Wright: Devices, cunning contrivances, pretexts. See Ham. II, 
i, 38. Compare 2 Samuel, xiv, 20, where the verb « fetch about • occurs in the sense 
of bringing about by artifice : ' To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant 
Joab done this thing.' 

86. images] Walker ( Vers. 255), on the score of metre, suggests that this is 
the singular, and would print it image \ For similar instances, see * horses,' Afacb. 
II, iv, 14; 'sense is,' lb. V, i, 22; « message,' Ham. I, ii, 22; Abbott, §471, 

88. quality] Wright: Nature, character. See below, line 133. Moberly: 
For a man so passionate as Lear to be asked to humour the vehement temper of one 
whom he still considers his inferior, is the most stinging request that can possibly 
be made. 

98. Schmidt thus justifies his reading, which is virtually that of the Ff : The 
majority of the Qq read * commands her service,' and this convenient reading has 
been adopted, without more ado, by the modern editors. But they failed to note 




Are they ' inform'd ' of this ? My breath and blood ! 

• Fiery ? ' * the fiery duke ? ' Tell the hot duke that— 

No, but not yet ; may be he is not well ; 

Infirmity doth still neglefl all office 

Whereto our health is bound ; we are not ourselves 

When nature being oppressed commands the mind 

To suffer with the body. I'll forbear ; 

And am fall'n out with my more headier will, 

To take the indisposed and sickly fit 



99. Om. Qq. 

100. 'Fiery? 1 . ..that—] Fierie duke, 
tell the hot duke that Lear, Qq. 

that — ] Mo/— [Glocester offers 
to go. Johns. 

102-105. Infirmity., forbear ;] Three 
lines, the first two ending health. ..op- 

103. Whereto] where to Qq. 

we are] we're Pope +, Jen. 

Dyce ii, Huds. 

104. commands] CdmandQ x . 

106. fair if] fallen Qq, F f F,. Cap. 
(changed to falfn in Errata), Jen. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. Ktly, 

headier] hedier Q x . heady Pope, 

1 07-1 10. To...her] Three lines, the 
first two ending man,.. .here t Qq. 

that one Quarto, and probably the oldest [see Q, (Bodl. 1) in Appendix, p. 374], 
reads come and tends service, of course, nonsense, but yet containing nearly the same 
letters as the Folio ; also that Lear demands service not only from Regan, but also 
from Cornwall, and that the circumstances, at least, would require : commands them 
service, which would come nearer to the ductus litcrarum of the true reading. As 
concerns this latter, it must be granted that tend, which is elsewhere so often 
identical with attend, is used by Sh. nowhere in the sense of await, in which sense 
he frequently uses attend (see II, i, 125). But this is of no material weight. Just 
as the prefix a is found before numberless verbs without changing their essential 
meaning (abate, abide, accursed, advantage, adventure, affright, affront, apper~ 
tain, &c), so, on the other hand, in the older language the prefix a (whatever may 
be its origin) is often omitted at will. In II, i, 30, we have had ' quit thyself as a 
hapax legomenon for acquit thyself. So also in IV, i, 49, ' parel ' for apparel. Other 
hapax legomena are 'lege' for allege, 'noyance' for annoyance, 'paritor' for 
apparitor, 'rest' (only in Com. of Err.*) for arrest, 'say* for assay, 'stonish' for 
astonish, 'void' (Cor. IV, v, 88) for avoid. The occurrence of the shortened form 
is not therefore conclusive against the use of tend in a sense with which attend does 
not seem hitherto to have had anything in common, especially since the meanings 
of the two words in other passages coincide in the majority of cases, and also since 
tendance is equivalent in Sh. to attendance. 

101. well] COleridge: The strong interest now felt by Lear, to try to find ex* 
cuses for his daughter, is most pathetic. 

102. still] Constantly. See Rom. 6* Jul. V, iii, 106; Macb. V, viii, 14; Ham. 
I, i, 122; IV, vii, 117; Abbott, §69; and Sh. passim. 

106. more headier] See II, ii, 97. Schmidt: Heady is not headstrong, but 
headlong, impetuous. ' Will' occurs frequently in Sh., as the blind impulse in oppo- 
sition to wit or reason. 

148 KING LEAR [act n, sc. iv 

For the sound man. — Death on my state ! wherefore 108 

Should he sit here ? This aft persuades me 

That this remotion of the duke and her 1 10 

Is praftice only. Give me my servant forth. 

Go tell the duke and *s wife I 'Id speak with them, 

Now, presently ; bid them come forth and hear me, 

Or at their chamber-door I '11 beat the drum 

Till it cry sleep to death. 115 

Glou. I would have all well betwixt you. [Exit* 

Lear. O me, my heart, my rising heart i But down ! 
Fool. Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels 

108. [Looking on Kent Johns. 112. GoteU] Tell Qq. 

on my] Changed to d my by and '/] and his Cap. Steev. Ee. 

Cap. in Errata. Var. Knt, Del. Ktly. 

wherefore] butwterefore Pope +. f'ld]F.. Ji 9 d F S F JFy lie Qq. 

X08, 109. wherefore.] One line, 115. sleep to death] In Italics, Johns. 

Jen. Cap. Steer. Ec. Var. Coll. (with quo- 

109. act] very ael Ktly. tation-marks), Del. death to sleep Mason. 
persuades] persuade/ A Hxn. al- 116. I would] Pd Cap. Steev. Bos. 

most persuades Steev. conj. Ktly. 

III. praclice only. Give] praclife [Exit] Om. Qq. 

only. GiueY v pra/Kfi t onelygiueQ<\* 117. O...Mownf] O my heart \ my 

praclife onely, Give F t . praclice onely, ' heart. Q,. O my heart I my heart Q,. 
GweF % . praclice only, give F 4 . 118. cockney] Cokney Q f . 

108. wherefore] Walker ( Vers. in) cites this passage among many others of the 
stronger accent falling on the last syllable. Abbott, § 490, would make ' Death on 
my state !' a separate line, and begin the next line with ' Wherefore,' thus retaining 
its usual accent. 

109. persuades] Schmidt : Perhaps persuadeth, unless it is to be assumed that 
the s of the third person prolongs the word by a syllable. 

1 10. remotion] M alone: From their own house to Gloucester's castle. Schmidt 
in his Lex. adopted this interpretation by Malone, but in his edition he revokes it, and 
says that the word here means holding one's self at a distance, non-appearance ; and that 
it bears the same meaning in the only other passage where Sh. uses it : Tim. IV, iii, 346. 

in. practice] See I, ii, 172. 

115. Till.. .death] Steevens: That is, till it cries out, 'Let them awake no 
more ;' ' Let their present sleep be their last.' Knight : Tieck suggested the true 
explanation : till the noise of the drum has been the death of sleep, — has destroyed 
sleep, — has forced them to awaken. Staunton adopts Tieck's explanation, but ad- 
mits that Steevens's is ' very possibly the poet's idea.' As Wright says, it is diffi- 
cult to see how such an interpretation as that of Steevens could be appropriate. 

118. cockney] Tyrwhitt (in a note on Chaucer's Reve's Tale, 4205: 'And 
whan this jape is tald another day, I shal be halden a daffe or a cokenay ') : That 
this is a term of contempt, borrowed from the kitchen, is very probable : A Cook, 
in the base Latinity, was called Coquinator and Cbauinarius, from either of which 
Cokenay might be easily derived. In Piers the Plowman, ' And yut ich sey, by my 

ACTlJ.SC.iv.] KING LEAR 149 

when she put 'em P th' paste alive ; she knapped 'em o* th f 1 19 

119. she] hee F t . hi FjF^ Rowe, 119. she] he Rowe, Pope, Han. 

Pope, Han. knapped' em] knapt'emYl. rapt 

put 'em T M»] F,F,F 3 , Sch. /k/ vm Qq. rapt 'em Pope +, Jen. Steer. 

them f M' F 4 , Rowe + , Jen. Wh. put Ec. Var. Coll. Sing. Wh. Ktly. wrapt 

vmit'h Q t . put them vp i' th Q,. put Urn Han. 

6ta» i ' M* Steev. /*/ '«» T M* Dyce. ^ M'] Ff +, Cap. Jen. Wh. Sch. 

paste] past Q,. pasty Pope +. ath Qq. ^ M/ Steev. et cet 

saule ich haue no salt-bacon ; Nouht a cokeney, by cryst, colhoppes to make ' [Pass. 
IX, 309, C. Text, ed. Skeat]. It seems to signify a Cook. And so, perhaps, in 
The Turnament of Tottenham [Percy's Reliques, ii, p. 24, ed. 1765]. 'At that 
feast were they served in rich aray; Every five and five had a cokeney.' That is, I 
suppose, a cook or scullion, to attend them. In those rhymes ascribed to Hugh 
Bigot, which Camden has published : ' Were I in my castle of Bongey upon the 
river of Waveney, I would ne care for the King of Cockeney.' The author, in 
calling London Cockeney, might possibly allude to that imaginary country of idle* 
ness and luxury which was anciently known by the name of Cokaigne. Nares also 
believes that it is derived from cookery, and that here in Lear it means a cook, be* 
cause she is ' making a pie. 9 In the passages cited by Tyrwhitt, Whalley and 
Malone think that it refers to some dish, while Douce maintains that it signifies a 
little cock. H ALU well, in his Archaic Diet., says that he can find no certain au- 
thority for any such interpretation as Tyrwhitt gives it, but in his Folio edition of 
Sh. he says that the word ' cockney is used in various senses, amongst others in that 
of a cook, which may be its meaning here, although I rather incline to the belief that 
the reference is to some absurd tale of a London cockney well known in Shake- 
speare's time.' In which belief Dyce agrees with him. Way (note on Coknay in 
Prompt. Parv.) : The term coknay appears in the Promptorium to imply simply a 
child spoiled by too much indulgence; thus likewise in the Medulla: * Mammo- 
trophus, quidiu sugit, Mammotropkus mammam longo qui tempore servat Kokenay 
dicatur, noster sic sermo notatur.' There can be little doubt that the word is to be 
traced to the imaginary region ' ihote Cokaygne,' described in the curious poem 
given by Hickes, Gramm. A Sax., p. 231, and apparently translated from the French. 
Compare ' le Fabliam de Coquaigne' Fabl. Barbazan et Meon. iv, 175. Palsgrave 
gives the verb 'To bring uplyke a cocknaye, mignotter;' and Elyot renders *delicias 
facere, to play the cockney/ ' Dod diner, to bring vp wantonly as a cockney.' — Hoi* 
lyband's Treasurte. See also Baret's Alvearit. Chaucer uses the word as a term 
of contempt, and it occasionally signifies a little cook, coquinator. See Brand's Pop. 
Ant., notes on Shrove Tuesday. Cotgrave gives Coquinei A beggar-woman; also 
a cockney, simperdecockit, nice thing. Wedgwood: The original meaning of 
< cockney ' is a child too tenderly or delicately nurtured, one kept in the house and 
not hardened by out-of-doors life ; hence applied to citizens, as opposed to the hard* 
ier inhabitants of the country, and in modern times confined to the citizens of 
London. [Does not this definition lack an allusion to the meaning in which Sh. 
here uses it, which is undoubtedly that of a cook ? Minsheu's derivation from the 
neigh of a cock, is too familiar to be more than referred to. — Ed.] Badham (Cam. 
Essays, 1856, p. 284) : « Cockney' is perfectly out of place here in Lear, and must 
have supplanted either cook-maid or a similar word. 
119. knapped] Steev£NS maintained that rapfd of the Qq was the true reading, 



[ACT II, SC iv. 

coxcombs with a stick, and cried 'Down, wantons, down! 120 
Twas her brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, but* 
tered his hay. 

Re-enter Gloucester, with Cornwall, Regan', and Servants. 

Lear. Good morrow to you both. 

Corn. Hail to your grace ! 

[Kent is set at liberty. 

Reg. T am glad to see your highness. 

Lear. Regan, I think you are ; I know what reason 125 

I have to think so ; if thou shouldst not be glad, 
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb, 
Sepulchring an adultress. — Oh, are you free ? 
Some other time for that — Beloved Regan, 
Thy sister's naught O Regan, she hath tied 130 

Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here ! 

120. cried ' Down] cryed dewn Q 3 . 

121. her] his FjF 4 , Rowe, Pope, Han. 

122. hay] Hey F a F 3 . 
Re-enter....] Cap. Enter Duke 

and Regan. Qq. Enter Cornewall, Re* 
gan, Glofter, Seruants. Ff. 

123. Scene x. Pope, Han. Scene 
XL Warb. Johns. Jen. 

[Kent is set....] Rowe. Kent 
here fet at liberty. Ff. (libery F t ). Om. 

125. you] your F f . 

1 26. shouldst not be] wert not Pope + . 

127. mother's] Mother F t . 

128. [To Kent. Rowe. 
O] yea Qq. 

130. sister's] Jifters F,F t . Jijler is 

131. Aeref] Stz. heere. Q 9 , Coll. Del. 
Wh. Ktly. heare, Q t . heere, or here. 
Ff, Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. 
Dyce. here; or here; Rowe et cet. 

[Points to his heart. Pope. 

because the only sense of the verb to ' knap ' is to snap, or break asunder. Wright 
(who defines 'knapped' by cracked, and cites Mer, of Ven, Ill, i, io; and the 
Prayer-Book version of Psalm xlvi, 9: ' He knappeth the spear in sunder') replies 
to Steevens by saying: 'We use crack in both senses [i.e. rap and snap], and 
"knap" and crack are both imitative words, representing the sound which is made 
either by a blow or by breaking anything in halves.' 

128. Sepulchring] Steevens: This word is accented in the same manner [on 
the penult] by Milton, Ode on Shakespeare, 15 : 'And so sepulcher'd in such pomp 
dost lie ; ' and by Fairfax [as a substantive] : ' As if his work should his sepulcher 
be.'— c. i, st. 25. Schmidt (Lex.) gives the two following additional instances of 
this verb with this same accent : Lucr, 805 ; Two Gent, IV, ii, 1 18; and Rich, II; 
I, iii, 196, of the substantive also thus accented. 

130. tied] Heath quotes with approval the change of ' tied ' to tir*d suggested by 
Sympson, in a note on Beau, and Fl. Love's Pilgrimage [III, ii] : an eagle or hawk 
is said to tire on its prey when it pulled at and tore it to pieces. ' It seems most 
probable that " sharp-tooth'd unkindness " is the vulture which Goneril has tired on 

act II, sc iv.] KING LEAR 1 5 * 

I can scarce speak to thee ; thou 'It not believe 1 32 

With how depraved a quality — O Regan ! 

Reg. I pray you, sir, take patience. I have hope 
You less know how to value her desert 135 

Than she to scant her duty. 

Lear % Say, how is that ? 

132. thotilt] thoui Q t . thouU Q,. 134. you] Om. Qq. 

133. With how depraved] Of how de- 136. scan/] Jlackt Qq. scan Han 
priued Qq. Of how deprai/d Johns. Jen. 

Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Sing. Dyce ii, 136-141. Lear. Say v .Jblame.] Om. 

Ktly, Huds. Qq. 

quality — ] Rowe. qualitie, Qq. 136. Say, how is] How is Pope, Han. 

quality. Ff. Cap. Ha I how's Cap. conj. 

the heart of Lear.' Roderick (Canons ofCrit. p. 270, ed. vii) also adopted tired, 
and would read : < She hath tired (sharp-tooth* d unkindness !) like a vulture — here.' 
135, 136. You • . • duty] This passage, as Wright truly remarks, ' is one of 
many passages in Sh. of which the sense is clear, but which it is almost impossible 
to paraphrase.' Johnson, on the ground that « scant' is directly contrary to the 
sense intended, advocated Haunter's change to scan in the sense of measure or pro- 
portion. Steevens says, < Surely no alteration is necessary,' and then gives what he 
says is 'the intended meaning of the passage': * "You less know how to value her 
desert, than she (knows) to scant her duty," t. e. than she can be capable of being 
wanting in her duty.' Capell : Had [line 135] been conceiv'd in these words, < You 
more know how to lessen her desert,' then had those expressions been proper that suc- 
ceed in the next line; as it is, 'scant' cannot have been the word in that place; and 
scan • • • bids fair to be the Poet's intended term in it's room, spoil'd by printers* 
M alone: The inaccuracy of the expression will clearly appear from inverting the 
sentence without changing a word : ' I have hope, says Regan, that she knows more 
(or better) how to scant her duty than you.know how to value her desert;' 1. /. I have 
hope that she is more perfect in the non-performance of her duty than you are perfect, 
or accurate, in the estimation of her merit. If Lear is less knowing in the valuation 
of Goneril's desert than she is in scanting her duty, then she knows better how to scant 
or be deficient in her duty, than he knows how to appreciate her desert. If Sh. had 
written * I have hope that you rather know how to make her desert less than it is, (to 
underrate it in your estimation) than that she knows how to scant her duty,' all would 
have been clear, but by placing ' less ' before ' know ' this meaning is destroyed. In 
Wint. Tate, III, ii, 55, we meet with a similar inaccuracy : ' — I ne'er heard yet That 
any of these bolder vices wanted Less impudence to gainsay what they did Than to 
perform it first,' where, as Johnson justly observed, ' wanted should be had or less should 
be more. 9 Again in Macb. Ill, vi, 8. Schmidt (Lex. p. 1420, 9) gives many similar 
instances of what he calls the ' duplication of negative words,' as here ' less know ' 
and ' scant *\e.g. Mer. of Ven. IV, i, 162 : « Let his lack of years be no impediment 
to let him lack a reverend estimation,' equivalent to either : no motive to let him 
lack, or, no impediment to let him have. Again, Tro. and Cres. I, i, 28 ; Cor. I, iv v 
14, &c. ' All such irregularities,' adds Schmidt, * may be easily accounted for. The 
idea of negation was so strong in the poet's mind, that he expressed it in more than 

152 KING LEAR [ACT 11, 

Reg. I cannot think my sister in the least 137 

Would fail her obligation. If, sir, perchance 
She have restraint the riots of your followers, 
Tis on such ground and to such wholesome end 14a 

As clears her from all blame. 

Lear. My curses on her 1 

Reg. Oh, sir, you are old ; 

Nature in you stands on the very verge 
Of her confine. You should be ruled and led 
By some discretion that discerns your state 145 

Better than you yourself. Therefore I pray you 
That to our sister you do make return ; 
Say you have wrong*d her, sir. 

Lear. Ask her forgiveness ? 

Do you but mark how this becomes the house : 

138. sir,'] Om. Pope+ Q^ her. Ff, Rowe, Knt, Ktly, Sen. 

143-147- Nature, return;] Four 148. Ask her] Ask of her Ktly. 

lines, the first three ending confine,... 149. but] Om. Qq. 

di/cretion t ...your felfe, Qq. becomes the house :] becometk us • 

143. in you] on you Qq. Han. becometh — thus. Johns, conj. 

144. her] his F g . the house:] the hou/e, Q l . the 
146. you] Om. Qq. hou/e t Q,Ff. the Use t Theob. me now : 

148. her, sir.] her Sir t Q,. her fir. Jen. 

one place, unmindful of his canon that ' your four negatives make your two affirma- 
tives.' Had he taken the pains to revise and prepare his plays for the press, he 
would perhaps have corrected all these passages. But he did not write them to be 
read and dwelt on by the eye, but to be heard by a sympathetic audience. [Is the 
levity ill-timed that suggests that perhaps Regan's speech puzzles poor old Lear him- 
self, quite as much as his commentators, and he has to ask her to explain 2 ' Say, 
how is that?'— Ed.] 

136. Say • • • that?] Coleridge: Nothing is so heart-cutting as a cold, unex- 
pected defence or palliation of a cruelty passionately complained of, or so expressive 
of thorough hard-heartedness. And feel the excessive horror of Regan's * Oh, Sir, 
you are old !' — and then her drawing from that universal object of reverence and in- 
dulgence the very reason for her frightful conclusion — « Say you have wrong'd her.* 
All Lear's faults increase our pity for him. We refuse to know them otherwise than 
as means of his sufferings and aggravations of his daughters' ingratitude. 

144. confine] Add this instance to those noted in Ham. I, i, 155. 

145. discretion] The abstract for the concrete, like ' you houseless poverty/ III* 
iv, 26, or * speculations,' III, i, 24. See I, iv, 146. 

149. house] Theobald suggested and adopted use. i. e. the established rule and 
custom of nature. Warburton interpreted it as meaning the order of families, the 
duties of relation ; and Steevens cites from Chapman's Blind Beggar of Alexandria, 
1598 : * Come up to supper; it will become the house wonderfull welL' But Capeix 


act ii. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 1 53 

• Dear daughter, I confess that I am old; I JO 

Age is unnecessary. On my knees I beg 
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed and food.' 

Reg. Good sir, no more ; these are unsightly tricks. 
Return you to my sister. 

Lear. Never, Regan. 

She hath abated me of half my train ; 155 

Look'd black upon me ; strook me with her tongue, 
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart 
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall 

150. [The King kneeling. Han. 156. strook\ Cap. Knt, Sch. Jlrookr 

Kneeling. Johns., after line 151. Q«Fk Jlroke Q a . struck Rowc et cet. 

154. [Rising. Coll. (MS). 158-160. AIL. .lameness.] Two lines, 

Never] No Qq. the first ending top ! Qq. 
156. black] backe Q a . blank Theob. 

takes it in a more restricted sense : ' fathers are not the heads only of a house or a 
family, but it's representatives ; they are the house, what affects them affects the rest 
of it's body ; Regan, therefore, is call'd upon to observe an action in which she is 
doncern'd, and then say her opinion of it ; and she does accordingly shew herself 
hurt by it, and declares it " unsightly," unbecoming her and her father, i . e. the 
house? Whereupon Dyce (Closs.) remarks: I suspect that Lear is now thinking 
much more of himself as head of the house tjian of Regan as a member of it, and 
that, though she chides him for such ' unsightly tricks,' she is not of a nature to be 

* hurt ' by them. Collier : The (MS) tells us to read mouth, 1. e. the mouth of 
Lear. We feel reluctant to adopt the emendation, inasmuch as, according to War- 
burton, the sense is pretty clear; but still it is extremely probable that the copyist, or 
the compositor, misheard the word, and that Lear intends to call attention to the 
manner in which such terms of abject submission to a child misbesccm a father's 
mouth. Schmidt : Compare Coriolanus's horror when his mother kneels to him, 
V, iii, 56. 

150. Knight doubts the propriety of the stage-direction which is usually inserted 
here. * Lear is not addressing these words to Regan, but is repeating what he would 
say to Goneril if he should ask her forgiveness. Collier : Both * Kneeling ' here 
and ' Rising' below are inserted in the (MS), so that there can be no dispute as to 
what was the practice of the ancient stage in this respect. These are what Regan 
means by « unsightly tricks.* Davies {Dram. Misc. ii, 190) : Carrick threw him- 
self on both knees, with his hands clasped, and in a supplicating tone repeated this 
touching, though ironical, petition. 

151. unnecessary] Johnson: Old age has few wants. Steevens: It seems 
unnecessary to children that the lives of their parents should be prolonged. The 
phrase may mean, old people are useless. So in Massinger's Old Law [II, i] : 

* Your laws extend not to desert But to unnecessary years.* Tyrwhitt : In want 
of necessaries, unable to procure them. Wright : Lear is merely apologizing ironi- 
cally for his useless existence. [For the scansion of this line, see Walker ( Vers. 
275) and Abbott, § 458, where it is held that the last two syllables of this word are 
extra syllables, and that the line has but five accents.] 

154 ATM? LEAR [act n, sc. to. 

On her ingrateful top ! Strike her young bones, 159 

You taking airs, with lameness I 

Corn. Fie, sir, fie ! 160 

Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames 

Into her scornful eyes I Infeft her beauty, 

You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun, 

To fall and blast her pride t 

159. top] head Pope, Han* Cam* 

160. You taking] Infecling Pope, 164. To fait] Do, fait Johns, cooj. 
Fie 9 tir,fie\Fie t fiefir<if Fit O t fallC*v. 

fie fir Q f . Fye,fye,fye Steev. '93, Bos. and Mast her pride.] Qq. and 

161. Lear.] Om Q t . blijler. Ff, Rowe, KbU and blast her. 
163, 164. sun, To] SuHne To F,F S F 4 , Walker. 

159. young bones] Jourdain (Trans. Philological Soc. 1860-1, p. 141): That 
is, infants just born, which fairies then had power over, but not afterwards. By 
4 young bones ' the following quotations will, I think, prove the meaning : * — poore 
soule, she breeds yong bones, And that is it makes her so tutchy sure. Con. What, 
breeds young bones already !' — Hist, of King Leir [See Appendix, p. 397]. * These 
dead men's bones lie heere of purpose to Inuite vs to supply the number of The 
liuing. Come; we'l get young bones.'— The Atheist's Tragedy, Act IV, by Cyril 
Tourneur, 161 2. For 'you faking airs' read * you taking fairies,' that is, fairies. 
I am not sure whether the elision would be the two letters it; if only i the omission 
is simply the /. John Addis, jun. (M cV Qu. 1867, 3d Ser. vol. xi, 251) suggests, 
what is undoubtedly correct, that ' young bones ' means, not ' infants just born,' but 
infants ' unborn/ and cites Ford's Broken Heart, II, i : * What think you, If your 
fresh lady breed young bones, my lord ? Would not a chopping boy do you good 
at heart ?' [The phrase also occurs with the same meaning in Brome's Jovial Crew, 
III, i, vol. x, p. 326, Dodsley's Old Plays, 1826.— Ed.] 

160. taking] Malignant, bewitching. See III, iv, 58, and Ham. I, i, 163. 

164. To fall] Malone says that this verb is here used actively, meaning to humble 
or pull down. ' Infect her beauty so as to fall and blast (1. e. humble and destroy) 
her pride.' Mason, on the other hand, thinks that it is intransitive; 'You fen- 
sucked fogs, drawn up by the sun in order to fall down again and blast her pride.' 
[The majority of editors incline to Malone's view that it is here transitive (Dycb 
enumerates fourteen instances in Sh. of the use of * fall ' as a transitive verb ; this, 
however, is not among them), but one of the latest and best, Wright, says that, 
although in either case it would yield a good sense to this passage, yet it seems pre- 
ferable, on the whole, to regard it as intransitive, ' as more in keeping with "drawn," 
which precedes, and " blast," which follows.' Schmidt suggests that ' pride ' has 
accidentally been omitted at the end of the line in the Ff, and that the true reading 
is ' To fall and blister pride.' * To fall ' would be intransitive, and • pride ' used as 
frequently in Sh. in the sense of * braggart beauty.' Compare ' a southwest blow 
on ye And blister ye all o'er.' Temp, I, ii, 324; 'Takes off the rose From the fail 
forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there.' Ham. Ill, iv, 42.] 

164. and blast her] Nichols (Notes, &c, No. 2, p. 1) upholds the Ff, because 

4CT ii. sc. Iv.] KING LEAR 155 

f Reg. O the blest gods ! so will you wish on me, 165 

When the rash mood is on. 

Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse ; 
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give 
Thee o'er to harshness. Her eyes are fierce, but thine 
Do comfort and not burn. Tis not in thee 1 70 

To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train, 

1 65, 1 66. 0...on] As in Qq, Del. Dyce, tender hefted Q a . lender-heartedRowe ii, 

Sing, ii, Glo.+. The first line ends Pope, Coll. (MS), Sing. Ktly. 

Gods I FfetceL 168-171. Thy....Jrain,] Three lines, 

166. mood is on\ mood— Qq. mood's the first two ending ore.. .burn. Qq. 

on. Steev. '93, Knt. 169. Thee'] the Q,. 

168. Thy] The Qq. harshness] rashness Johns. 
tender-he/ted] tider hefted Q t . 

the foggy state of the atmosphere in England is extremely productive of erysipelas, 
which attacks the face, * " infecting its beauty,*' and covering it over with extensive 
vesications or " blisters." ' 

168. tender-hefted] Steevens: Hefted seems to mean the same as heaved. 
4 Tender-hefted,' i. e. whose bosom is agitated by tender passions. Sh. uses * hefts ' 
for hearings in Wint. Tale, II, i, 45. The Qq, however, read, ' tender-hested 
nature,' which may mean a nature which is governed by gentle dispositions. * Hest' 
is an old word, signifying command. Da vies : I suppose the expression was in- 
tended to signify smooth, or soft-handled, consequently put here for gentleness of dis- 
position. Knight: We doubt Steevens's explanation. Heft, — haft, — is that which 
is haved, — held; and thus, ' thy tender-hefted nature ' may be thy nature which may 
be held by tenderness. White : Although I fail to see the appropriateness of any 
sense that may be extracted from either text of the Ff or Qq, I shrink from adopting 
the very specious reading of the earlier editors : tender-hearted. Edinburgh Re- 
view (July, 1869, p. 106) : « Heft* is a well-known older English word for handle, 
that which holds or contains, and * tender-hefted ' is simply delicately-housed, dain- 
tily-bodied, finely-sheathed. ' Heft ' was in this way applied proverbially to the body, 
and Howel has a phrase quoted by Halliwell: loose in the heft, to designate an ill 
habit of body, a person of dissipated ways. Schmidt (Lex.) quotes this extract, 
and adds : But is haft or heft, i. e. handle, indeed that which holds or contains, or 
not rather that by which a thing is held ? Loose in the handle, applied to a person, 
could not possibly mean any thing else than what loose in the heft is said to have 
designated. Perhaps * tender-hefted,' 1. e. tender-handled, is equivalent to tender, 
gentle, to touch or to approach ; of an easy and winning address, affable. Wright : 
A heft or haft is a handle, and a nature tender-hefted is one which is set in a tender 
handle or delicate bodily frame. Regan was less masculine than Goneril. Cotgrave 
has, * Emmanche : m. ee : f. Helued ; set into a haft, or handle. Lasche emmanche. 
Lazie, idle, slothfull, weake, feeble, loose ioynted, faint-hearted.' Prompt. Parv. 
4 Heftyde, manubriatus.' 

170. burn] M alone: So in Timon, V, i, 134: 'Thou sun, that coxnfort'st, 



[act ii, sc. iv. 

To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes, 172 

And in conclusion to oppose the bolt 

Against my coming in ; thou better know'st 

The offices of nature, bond of childhood, 175 

Effefts of courtesy, dues of gratitude ; 

Thy half o' th* kingdom hast thou not forgot, 

Wherein I thee endow'd. 

Reg. Good sir, to th* purpose. 

Lear. Who put my man V th' stocks ? [Tucket within. 

Corn. What trumpet's that ? 

Reg. I know't, — my sister's. This approves her letter, 180 
That she would soon be htrt.^-{Enter Oswald^ Is your 
lady come ? 

Lear. This is a slave whose easy-borrowM pride 
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows.— 

174. know'st] knoweft Qq. 

176. dues] and dues Rowe, Pope, 

177. hast thou] thou hast Rowe ii+ , 
Jeiu Ec. 

178. endowed] indow'd Q ( . endowed 

fcM'J/to'MQ,. to the Q,. to % 

179. [Tucket within.] Coll. After 
line 178, Ff. Trumpets within. Rowe. 

180. know't, — my] Dyce. knout? 7 my 
QqF a F Jt Sta. know't; my Cam. Wr. 

know't, my F f F 4 et cet. 

180. letter] Utters Qq. 

181. [Enter Oswald.] Dyce. Enter 
Steward, (after thatt line 179), Qq. 
(after stocks t line 179), Ff. Enter Os- 
wald, (after line 179), Coll. 

182. easy -borrow d] Cap. eafie bor* 
rowed QqFf. easy-borrowed Theob.+, 

\%Z. fickle] ficklyYf % . fickly¥JF 4 , 

her he] her, a Q f . 

172. sizes] Johnson: To contract my allowances. Delius: The same as 
4 exhibition,' I, ii, 25. Wright: The words 'sizar* and 'sizing* are still well 
known in Cambridge ; the former originally denoting a poor student, so called from 
the ' sizes ' or allowances made to him by the college to which he belonged. 

179. Tucket] See II, i, 78. 

180. I know't] Steevens: Thus in Oth. II, i, 179: 'The Moor! I know his 
trumpet.' It should seem, from both these passages, and others that might be quoted, 
that the approach of great personages was announced by some distinguishing note or 
tune appropriately used by their own trumpeters. Cornwall knows not the present 
sound ; but to Regan, who had often heard her sister's trumpet, the first flourish of 
it was as familiar as was that of the Moor to the ears of Iago. Delius considers 
Steevens's supposition as unlikely, because it was through the letter that Regan 
knew of Goneril's approach. Delius evidently takes ' this ' as the object of ' approves.' 

182. easy-borrow'd] Eccles: Pride that requires no cause of importance to 
produce it, derived from an insignificant source, depends upon uncertain favour* 
Moberly : Borrowed without the trouble of doing anything to justify it. 

ACT II, SC iv.] 



Out, variety from my sight ! 

Corn. What means your grace ? 

Lear. Who stock'd my servant ? — Regan, I have good 

hope 185 

Thou didst not know on't — Who comes here ? 

Enter Goneril. 

O heavens, 
If you do love old men, if your sweet sway 

Allow obedience, if yourselves are old, 

Make it your cause ; send down, and take my part !— 

Art not ashamed to look upon this beard ? — 190 

O Regan, will you take her by the hand ? 

Gon. Why not by th' hand, sir ? How have I offended ? 
All's not offence that indiscretion finds 
And dotage terms so. 

Lear. O sides, you are too tough ; 

Will you yet hold ? — How came my man i' th' stocks ? 195 

Corn. I set him there, sir; but his own disorders 
Deserved much less advancement. 

Lear. You ! did you t 

Reg. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so. 

185. Scene xi. Pope, Han. Scene 
XIX. Warb. Jen. 

Lear.] Gon. Qq. 

stock 'd] Jlruck Q t . J? ruche Q^ 

I have] I've Pope + . 

186. Thou....hravcns t ] Pope. Two 
lines, the first ending ant or on't, QqFf. 

on't] ant Qq. oft Mai. Steev. 

Who] Lear. Who Qq. 

Scene xii. Johns, (after here?). 

Enter Goneril] Johns. After 
grace t (line 1S4) in QqFf. 

187-189. If .parti] Three lines, the 
first two ending alow...eaufe t Qq. 

187. your] you Qq. 

188. Allow] alow Q,. Hallow Warbi 
Theob. Han. 

if] if you Ff f Rowe, Knt, Sing. 
Ktly, Sch. 

190. [To Gon. Johns. 

191. will you] Ff+, Sta. Sch. will 
thou Qq et cet. 

193. finds] fines Warb. conj. 

io 4» 195- 0...hold?] One line, Rowe. 

195. WilL..stoeks t] Two lines, Ff. 
yet hold t] hold yet t Cap. conj. 

196. sir] Om. Q a . 

197. much less] no less Han. much 
more Johns, conj 

198. weak] 'wake Han. Jen. 
seem so] deem 9 t so Warb. 

188. Allow] Upton (Pref. ix) : To be well pleased with, approve of. Com* 
pare Psalm xi, 6: The Lord alloweth the righteous. Steevens: Warburton might 
have found his emendation [see Textual Notes] in Tate's version. 

197. less advancement] Percy: A still worse, or more disgraceful, situations 
a situation not so reputable. Schmidt : An undisguised sneer. 


1 58 KING LEAR [act II, SC. iv. 

If, till the expiration of your month, 

You will return and sojourn with my sister, 200 

Dismissing half your train, come then to me ; 

I am now from home and out of that provision 

Which shall be needful for your entertainment 

Lear. Return to her? and fifty men dismiss'd? 
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose 205 

To wage against the enmity o* th* air, 
To be a comrade with the wolf, and howl 
Necessity's sharp pinch ! Return with her ? 

199. month] moneth QqF,F,F 3 . Ktly. 

«02. 1 ant] £m Pope + , Dyce ii, Huds. 207. comrade] Comerade F 4 . 

204. hert] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Theob. howl] Coll. ii, iii, (MS), owl, ox 

Han. Coll. Del. Wh. Sen. her I Sing. Owle, QqFf. owl; Theob. Johns. owl % 

Ktly. her, Qq et cet. or owl, — Rowe et cet. 

206. o 9 M'] oW F,F t . of the Qq. Cap. 

206, 207. To wage . . . howl] Theobald (followed by Hanmer) transposed 
these lines so as to> make * Necessity's sharp pinch,' the object of ' wage.' This 
Jennens pronounces nonsense, because * it is that " pinch " which forces a man to 
u wage ;" war is understood, or perhaps it is the very word instead of " wage." 
•' Necessity's sharp pinch " is in apposition to " To be a comrade," ' &c. Capell : 

• To wage,' is to wage combat or battle. Steevens says, that wage is often used 
thus, intransitively, but the only instance that he cites is in I, i, 154, where ' wage ' 
means to wager. According to Schmidt (Lex.), this is the only instance of its use 
in Sh. Keightly inserts war in the text. 

207. howl] This change from owl of the QqFf to « howl ' is due to Collier's 
(MS), and, to my mind, carries conviction. In the old reading, which renders 

• Necessity's sharp pinch ' parenthetical, there is a tameness out of place at the close 
of Lear's wild outburst, which is, it seems to me, thoroughly un-Shakespearian. In 
the present text there is a climax, terrible in its wildness : roofs are to be abjured, 
storms braved, and famine howled forth among wolves. What companionship is 
there between wolves and owls, beyond the fact that they are both nocturnal ? Yet 
what grates me in the old reading is, not so much the association of the wolf and 
owl, but the un-Shakespearian feebleness of bringing in • Necessity's sharp pinch ' as 
an explanation of what it is to abjure roofs and to be a comrade with wolves. As if 
Lear would stop to explain that people did not usually prefer such houseless poverty 
or such companionship, but that it was only the sharp pinch of necessity that drove 
them to it. In the old text there is no crest to the wave of Lear's passion ; it surges 
up wild and threatening, and then when it should ' thunder on the beach ' it subsides 
into a gentle apologetic ripple. Theobald's transposition of the lines, or any change 
that will avoid putting * Necessity's sharp pinch ' in apposition with the rest of the 
sentence, is better than the old text. Schmidt must have felt this, although he does 
not say so; he puts a full stop after ' owl,' and makes ' Necessity's sharp pinch ' an 
anacoluthon. Furthermore, Schmidt says the circumstances enumerated in lines 
205, 206, and 207 are those under which the sharp pinch of necessity is felt, but they KING LEAR 159 

Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took 

Our youngest born, I could as well be brought 2IO 

To knee his throne, and, squire-like, pension beg 

To keep base life afoot. Return with her ? 

Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter 

To this detested groom, 

Gon. At your choice, sir. 

209. Why, the] Why the QqF.F,. 209, 210. tooi....Jrough/] One Kne, 

Whv t the F S F 4 , Rowe, Pope. Qq. 

hot-blooded] Pope, hot-bloodied 211. beg] bagQ? 

Ff. {bloodied FJ. hot blood in Qq. 214. [Looking on the Steward. Johns. 
(bloud QJ. 

are not the sharp pinch itself. If it be objected that to howl a pinch is a violent 
metaphor, 1 reply that it is not more violent than to take up arms against a sea. As 
far as concerns the addition or the omission of h in Shakespeare's day, I can only 
urge the exceeding difficulty, if not impossibility, of deciding what words were as- 
pirated and what were not ; in the old MSS, especially of the Xlllth century, the use 
of the h is very < uncertain and confused ' ( — Ellis, p. 598). In process of time the 
number of words in which it was customary to dropjthe h diminished;' until now, as 
Ellis says (p. 221), there are but five : heir, honest, honour, hostler, and hour [qy. 
herb f], which it is 'social suicide to aspirate.' Wherefore the absence of the h, in 
the present passage, is not fatal to the emendation ; the only instance in the Folio 
where ' owlet ' is used, it is spelled Howlet. Note too, as a slight corroboration of the 
present reading, that in III, i, 13 occurs the phrase 'the belly-pinched wolf ' ; and 
the howling of the wolf is again referred to in III, vii, 62. But whether or not the 
old pronunciation was owl or howl, and whether or not all the old texts have owl f I 
adhere to the maxim of the great Bentley : sana ratio vet centum codieibus potior. 
Dyce's opinion (Strictures, &c, p. 6) should be recorded here, so emphatic is his 
condemnation of the present text : ' the glaring absurdity of " the old corrector's 
aspirate " • • . will inevitably be treated by every future editor with the intense con* 
tempt it deserves.' Moberly, although he does not adopt it; pronounces 'howl* 
* another instance of improvement in the text, suggested' by Collier's (MS), and 
adds that, when thus read, the lines become ' convincingly forcible.' — Ed. 

209. hot-blooded France] For instances of nouns which express the subject of 
the thought without any grammatical connection with a verb, see IV, vi, 77 : ' That 
thing you speak of, I took it for a man ;' Ham. I, v, 53 ; and Abbott, § 417. 

211. knee] From the only other use of this word in Sh. as a verb (Cor. V, i, 5), 
Schmidt infers, very erroneously I think, that this does not here mtoan to kneel down 
before France's throne, but to travel thither on the knees. The passage in Cor. is 
not parallel. 

213. sumpter] Cotgrave, cited by Wright, sufficiently defines this : < Sommier : 
m. A Sumpter-horse; (and generally any toyling, and load carrying, drudge, or 

214. groom] Fat the sake of scansion Abbott, § 484, would pronounce this as a 



[act ii 9 sc. iv. 

Lear. I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad. 
I will net trouble thee, my child ; farewell. 
We'H no more meet, no more see one another. 
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter ; 
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh, 
Which I must needs call mine ; thou art a boil, 
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle, 
In my corrupted blood. But Til not chide thee; 
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it; 
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot, 
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove. 
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure. 
I can be patient ; I can stay with Regan, 
I and my hundred knights. 

Reg. Not altogether so ; 

I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided 
For your fit welcome. Give ear, sir, to my sister; 
For those that mingle reason with your passion 





215. I] Now I Qq, Jen. Mai. Ec. 

216. thee, my] thee. My Johns. 

219. that's in] that lies within Qq. 

220. boii] Mai. ^!7*Q f F 3 F 4 +,Cap. 
Jen. Del. Sch. Byle Q a F,F,. 

221. 222. A. ..In my] One line, Qq. 
221. plague-sore] Hyphens, F 3 F 4 . 

an] or¥f + , Knt, Sch. 

embossed] Cap. imbojfed Qq 
Ff + , Jen. 

224. thunder-bearer] thunder-beater 
Warb. (misprint, corrected in Errata). 

225. tales] tailes Q s . 

high-judging] Hyphen, F.F.F,. 

228. /] Ay Anon. 

228-231. Not... passion] Four lines, 
ending yet t ....welcome t ,...tho/e„,.paJpon 9 

228. altogether so] altogether fo Jit 
Qq, Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec Var. all to* 
gether Pope, Han. 

229. looked] looke Qq. 

230. sir] Ota. Q,, Pope+. 

231. your] you F a . 

220. boil] Malone first changed the spelling of this word, of which the spelling 
in the Prompt. Parv. t Cotgrave, QqFf, &c. betokens a uniform pronunciation. Cot- 
grave (s. v. JBosse) gives it as a synonym of ' plague-sore.' 

221. embossed] This word is used by Sh. in two different senses, and has conse- 
quently given rise to some discussion, chiefly carried on in the pages of Notes 6* 
Queries; (references to all the communications will be found in the Bibliography.) 
Furntvall (N &* Qu. 4th Ser. xi, 507) at last showed that there was here a con- 
fusion of two different words. One is from the French embosser, defined by Cot- 
grave : ' To swell, or arise in bunches, hulches, knobs ; to grow knottie, or knurrie.' 
In this sense it is used here. The other is from the Old French : ' emboser 9 emboiter, 
enchasser une chose dans une autre. — Ducange, v. imbotare. 9 — Hippeau. This is 
Cotgrave's < Emboister: To imbox, inclose, insert, fasten, put, or shut vp, as within 
a box,* and is Shakespeare's word in AWs Well, III, vi, 107. 

act n. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 1 6l 

Must be content to think you old, and so— 232 

But she knows what she does. 

Lear. Is this well spoken ? 

Rig. I dare avouch it, sir. What, fifty followers ? 
Is it not well ? What should you need of more ? 23? 

Yea, or so many, sith that both charge and danger 
Speak 'gainst so great a number ? How in one house 
Should many people under two commands 
Hold amity ? Tis hard ; almost impossible. 

Gon. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance 240 
From those that she calls servants or from mine ? 

Rig. Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to 
slack ye, 
We could control them. If you will come to me, 
For now I spy a danger, I entreat you 

To bring but five and twenty ; to no more 245 

Will I give place or notice. 

Lear. I gave you all — 

Rig. And in good time you gave it 

Liar. — Made you my guardians, my depositaries ; 
But kept a reservation to be follow'd 

232. you old] you an old Qq. Q g . chancjl Q a . 

to— ] Rowe. y*, QqFf. 242. ye] Ff + f Jen. Sta. Sch. you 

233. spoken] fpoken now Qq, Jen. Qq et cet. 

Steev. Ec. Var. 243. you will] you'll Pope+. 

234. What, fifty] Rowe. what fifty 244. For. ...danger,] In parenthesis, 
QqFf. Q a Ff. 

236. sith that] since Pope+. 245. but] Om. F 3 F 4 . 

237. Speak] Speakes Qq. 247. all— ] Rowe. all. QqFf. 
one house] a houfe Qq. 249. kept] keep F 3 F 4> Rowe. 

242. Why.,] Two lines, Ff. follow'd] Pope, followed Qq 

chanced] chanced Ff. chanfjl Ff, Rowe, Sch. 

236. sith] See I, i, 179. 

246. give • • • notice] Wright : Recognize. 

247. And ... it] Hudson : Observe what a compact wolfishness of heart is ex 
pressed in these few cold words ! It is chiefly in this readiness of envenomed sar 
casm that Regan is discriminated from Goneril ; otherwise they seem almost too 
much like mere repetitions of each other to come fairly within the circle of Nature, 
who never repeats herself. 

248. guardians] Moberly : The guardians under me of my realms. So in the 
Bible ' Jeroboam's nursing father/ means he to whom Jeroboam gives his children 
to nurse. 

14* L 



[act n, sc IV. 

With such a number. What, must I come to you 250 

With five and twenty ? Regan, said you so ? 

Reg. And speak *t again, my lord ; no more with mp. 

Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd. 
When others are more wicked ; not being the worst 
Stands in some rank of praise. — \To Gon^\ I'll go with thee. 255 
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty, 
And thou art twice her love. 

Gotu Hear me, my lord : 

What need you five and twenty, ten, or five, 
To follow, in a house where twice so many 
Have a command to tend you ? ^ 

Reg. What need one ? 260 

Lear. Oh, reason not the need ; our basest beggars 
Are in the poorest thing superfluous. 
Allow not nature more than nature needs, 

250. number.'] number t Ff. 
What] Om. Pope*. 

251. twenty? Regan,] twenty % Re- 
gan, Q,. twentie, Regan Q t . twenty, 
Regan f Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Dyce, 
Glo.-t-, Mob. Huds. 

252. speak V] speak it Cap. Steev. Ec. 

253, 254. favour* d,. ..wicked ;] Theob. 
favor* d......wicked, QqFf (favor 9 d t F s ) 

Rowe. favour d.. ...wicked. Pope. Han. 

Johns. Jen. favoured...wicked ; Sen. 

253, 254. wicked. ..wicked] wrinkled 
...wrinkled Warb. 

253. look]feem Q,, Jen. feeme Q;. 

254. the] Om. Pope+. 

255. [To Gon.] Han. 
257. art] hast Pope, Han. 

260. need] needs Q,, Pope-f , Jen. 
needes Q x . 

261. need] deed Q\. 

253, 255. Those . . • praise.] Caprll, whose punctuation is substantially followed 
by Knight, Delius, and Moberly, puts a stop after * well-favour'd,' and a comma 
after ' wicked,' thus preserving, as he claims, ' a natural and just thought full of 
dramatic beauty.' The objection to the present text he finds in ' Those/ which, he 
says, makes the sentence ' particular, confining it to some persons then present, which 
are Regan and Goneril.' His interpretation of line 253 is that ' it is expressive of 
the speaker's astonishment that the judgement of heaven is not fallen upon his 
daughters for their wickedness; that they are still " well-favour'd," and their beauty 
not blasted, as he had particularly imprecated upon one of them a few pages before. 
The line should be spoken with bitterness, a contracted brow, and surveying them 
from head to foot, and a great pause made between that and the next line.' Steevens : 
A similar thought appears in Cym. V, v, 215-217, « It is I that all the abhorred things 
of the earth amend By being worse than they.' 

261. Oh, reason, &c] Coleridge: Observe that the tranquillity which follows 
the first stunning of the blow permits Lear to reason. 

262. superfluous] Moberly : Have in their deepest poverty some very poor 
thing which may be called superfluous. 

ACT II, SC. iv.] 



6 l 

Man's life is cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady ; 

If only to go warm were gorgeous, 

Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st, 

Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But for true need,- 

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need ! 

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, 

As full of grief as age ; wretched in both. 

If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts 

Against their father, fool me not so much 

To bear it tamely ; touch me with noble anger, 



264. life is] life as Q,. life's as Q^ 
Jen. Glo.+, Mob. 

beasts] Cap. beafts QqF s F 4 . 
Beaftes F S F,. beasts' Han. Sch. 

266. wear'st] weafeft Qq. 

267. warm. But. need, — ] Stccv. 

warms, but, need, QqFf (need.* F^. 

warm; but. ..need, Rowe+ , Jen. warm. 
But..jteedl Johns. warm.—But..jneed, 

268. that patience, patience] that pa- 
tience which Pope+. that: patience, 
patience Jen. Sch. but patience, pa. 
Hence Coll. iii. your patience that Nich- 

269. ma n ] fellow Qq. 

271. stirs] F 4 , KUy, Cam. Wr. Sdu 
Jlirres QqF^.F,. stir Rowe et cet 

272. so] to Q t . too Q,. 

273. tamely] lamely Qq. 

265. gorgeous] Walker ( Vers. 178) doubts if -this word be the correct one. 
• Note " gorgeous" in the next line, and see Shakespeare as to such repetitions.' 

267. need, — ] Moberly: To imagine how Shakespeare would have ended this 
sentence, one must be a Shakespeare. The poor king stops short in his definition ; 
it is too plain that his true need is patience. 

268. that • • • need!] Capell: The repetition of 'patience 9 is energetical, and 
'that' a word t>f great force; importing— that patience which is seen in you, 
« heavens/ that patience which none but you can bestow on one. in my situation. 
Mason: The passage should run thus: 'but for true need, You heavens! give me 
patience :— patience I need.' Nature needs not the gorgeous habits you wear, but 
to supply a real need, you heavens! give me patience — patience I need indeed. 
Hudson follows Mason's reading of this line. Jervis gives what is essentially the 
same reading. Malone : I believe the word 'patience' was repeated inadvertently 
by the compositor. White and Keigrtley adopted this conjecture of Malone's. 
RiTSON: The compositor has repeated the wrong word. Read: * give me that pa- 
tience that I need.' Or, still better, perhaps : ' give me patience ! — that I need.' 
Collier (ed. ii) : Instead of ' that patience ' the (MS) has « but patience.' We may 
doubt whether the line did not originally run : 'give me but patience that I need.' 
Dyce : I would not assert, with Capell, that the old text is uncorrupted. Walker 
( Crit. iii, 278) prefers either Malone's conj. or Ritson's second suggestion. Wright: 
If any change be made Mason's seems. best Abbott, §476, would make 'give 
• . • need ' a separate line, pronouncing the second 'patience' as a trisyllable. 

271. that stirs] For instances of the relative with a plural antecedent followed 
by a singular verb, see Abbott, § 247. 

272, 273. so . . . To] See I, iv, 36. 

1 64 


[act ii, sc. iv. 

And let not women's weapons, water-drops, 

Stain my man's cheeks ! — No, you unnatural hags, 275 

I will have such revenges on you both 

That all the world shall — I will do such things, — 

What they are, yet I know not ; but they shall be 

The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep ; 

No, I'll not weep. [Storm and tempest 280 

I have full cause of weeping ; but this heart 

Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, 

Or ere I'll weep. — O Fool, I shall go mad ! 

[Exeunt Lear, Gloucester, Kent, and Fool. 

Corn. Let us withdraw ; 'twill be a storm. 

Reg. This house is little ; the old man and's people 285 

Cannot be well bestow' A 

Gon. Tis his own blame ; ' hath put himself from rest, 

274. And let] Ff, Knt, Dyce, Sta, 
Glo.+, Sch. O let Qq ct cet. 

277. shall— ]Jhall, Q,. 

things,— ] Han. things, QqF(+. 

279. earth.} Johns. earth, QjF 4 . 
earth ; Q t F 3 . earth t F t T r 

[Storm and tempest.] Ff, after 
raping, line 281. After storm, line 284, 
Pope. Om. Qq. Storm heard at a Dis- 
ance. (after heart, line 281), Coll. 

280-282. No,..flaws t ] Jen. Two lines, 
the first ending weeping, QqFf + , Cap. 

281. I have} Though I have Han. 
but this} 72* Pope + . 

282. into a hundred thousand} in a 
loo thou/and Q x . in a thou/and Q.. 
into a thousand Pope+, Cap. 

flaws} flowes Qq. 

283. Or ere} Ere Q,. Or e'er F 3 F 4 , 
Rowe, Pope, Theob. Han. Dyce ii. 

rtqtitQq. IleT v /F a F 3 F 4 +, 

[Exeunt...Fool.] Q, (subs). Ex- 
eunt Lear, Leuter, Kent... Q,. Exeunt. 

Scene xii. Pope, Han. Scene 
XIU. Warb. Johns. Jen. 

284. Corn.] Duke Qq. 
withdraw; 'twill] withdraw us; 

it will Ktly. 

284-288. Zet.....folly.] QqFf. Lines 
end house.. .cannot... put.. ./o//y, in Cap. 
Steev. '93, Ec. Lines end housc.can- 
not. .. bestow* t ... folly. Bos. Lines 
end storm...people...blame;... folly. Ktly. 

285. little} small Pope, Han. 
and's] F a F s F 4 , Rowe, Coll. Sing. 

Wh. Sch. an J ds F x . and his Qq et cet. 

286. bestow'd] bestowed Qq, Sch. 

287. blame; 'hath] Dyce ii, Huds. 
blame hath QqFf+, Coll. Sta. Wh. 
blame, he'ath Han. Jen. blame; he 
hath Cap. Steev. Mai. Ec. Ktly. blame; 
hath Bos. et cet. 

282. flaws] Malone : A * flaw ' signifies a crack, but is here used for a small 
broken particle. Singer : This word, as Bailey observes, was ' especially applied to 
the breaking off of shivers or thin pieces from precious stones.' 

283. Or ere] See Ham. I, ii, 147. Hazlitt : If there is anything or any author 
like the yearning of the heart [in this scene], these throes of tenderness, this pro* 
found expression of all that can be thought and felt in the most heart-rending situa* 
tions that it exhibits, we are glad of it ; but it is in some author we have not read. 

287. blame ; ' hath] Collier, following the QqFf, says that ' blame ' is the 

ACT II, SC. iv.] 


And must needs taste his folly. 

Reg. For his particular, I'll receive him gladly, 
But not one follower. 

Gon. So am I purposed. — 

Where is my lord of Gloucester ? 

Corn. Follow'd the old man forth ; he is return' A 










The king is in high rage. 

Whither is he going ? 
He calls to horse ; but will I know not whither. 
Tis best to give him way ; he leads himsel£ 
My lord, entreat him by no means to stay. 
Alack ! the night comes on, and the high winds 
Do sorely ruffle ; for many miles about 
There's scarce a bush. 

Reg. Oh, sir, to wilful men 

The injuries that they themselves procure 
Must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors. 
He is attended with a desperate train ; 



288. And] He Coll. (MS). 
290. Gon.] Duke. Qq. 

purposed] pufpofd Q t . 
290,291. So...Gloucesler ?] One line, 

292. Corn.] Reg. Qq. 

Followed] Pope. Followed Qq 
Ff, Sch. 

Re-enter...] As in Dyce. Enter... 
(after line 291), QqFf. Re-enter... (after 
line 291), Cap. 

293, 294. rage... but will] rage, and 

will Qq, Pope, Theob. Warb. Johns. 

293. Whither] Whether F s F t . 

294. whither] whether Qq, F t F t . 

295. Cora.] Re. Q t . Reg. Q,. 
best] good Qq. 

297. high] Ff+, Cap. Knt, ColL 
Dyce i, Sch. bleak Qq et cet. 

298, 299. Do. ..bush.] One line, Qq. 

298. ruffle] ruffel Q,. ruffell Q,. 
russle Pope, Han. Jen. rustle Cap. Ec. 

299. scarce] not Qq, Jen. 

nominative to ' hath put.' Dyce (ed. ii) marks the absorption of he in ' hath' by an 
apostrophe. See II, ii, 114. 

289. particular] Wright : For himself, for his own sake. Compare Ant. and 
Cleop. IV, ix, 20; where 'in thine own particular' means as far as yon yourself are 
concerned. See, also, AIVs Well, II, v, 66. 

296. stay] H alli well : ' Storme begins ' is here a MS stage-direction in a copy 
of the first edition of 1608, in the handwriting of one contemporary, or nearly so, 
with Sh. 

302. train] Eccles : We are led to imagine, from a passage in Act III, that 
Lear's attendant knights had not yet arrived. Clarke: Regan's barefaced pre* 
tence, — insisting on speaking of her old father as still attended by a large train of 

1 66 KING LEAR [actio. sc.L 

And what they may incense him to, being apt 303 

To have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear. 

Corn. Shut up your doors, my lord ; 'tis a wild night; 305 
My Regan counsels welL Come out o v th v storm. 

Scene L Akeatk. 

*3L Enter Kmtt mmd m Gentleman, semtrmlfy. 

Kent Who's there, besides foul weather ? 1 

Gent One minded like the weather, most unquietry. 

Kent I know you. Where's the king? 

Gent Contending with the fretful elements; 
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea, 5 

Or swell the curled waters *bove the main. 

303. 4»] *» Q.F,. severally] Ft at fenerall doores. Qq. 

305. wild] sW/V F^ meeting. Cap. 

306. Regan] Reg <£. I. Whds Here} WUtt here Q,. 
d tf'] oOC F,F r mi 'A Q,. mth What's hetre Q,. What's here Cap. 

<k Jen. WhdsherehUL Steer. Bos. CoU. 

[Exennt] Exeunt omnes. Q^ Sing. Wh. Ktly. 

A heath.] Rowe. besides] befde Qq, Cap. Jen. Steer. 

Storm still.] Om. Qq. A Storm is Ec Var. CoU. Sing. Ktly. 

heard, with Thunder and Lightning. 4. elements] tUmumi Qq, Cap. Steer. 

Rowe. Var. 

followers, both in this speech and the one a little before, where she talks of there not 
being room for ' the old man and his people,' while in reality he has with him only 
his faithfuJ Kent and Fool, — is thoroughly in character with her brassy nature. 

4. elememo j ELy-nt of the Qq is, as Capell says, the air alone. That the 
Ff are right, see III, ii, iC. 

5. Bids] See II, iv, 287. 

6. main] Capell : This is pat, as every one sees, for — the land; it is still a sea- 
term for it, and often ns'd in that sense by old voyage- writers, from whom Sh. had it ; 
the sound pleas'd him ; and he made no scruple of using it, well knowing it could 
not be mistaken. Wright : : ; tf evens qu'jtes from Bacon's Considerations touching a 
War with Spain (Lift and Letters, ed. ^pedding, vii, 490) : * In the year that fol- 
lowed, of 1589, we gave the Spaniards no rest, but turned challengers, and invaded 
the main of Spain ; ' where the context shows that he is not speaking of what was 
technically known as * the Spanish main,' but of the landing an army on the coast 
of Spain itself. In the very next page Bacon says : * In the year 1596 was the second 
invasion that we made upon the main territories of Spain,' which shows clearly what] KING LEAR 1 67 

That things might change or cease ; * tears his white hair, 7 

* Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage, 

* Catch in their fury, and make nothing of; 

* Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn 10 

* The to-and-fro-confli£ling wind and rain, 

* This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch, 

7-15. tears. ..all] Om. Ff, Rowe. Cap. 

io, 11. Om. Pope, Han. 12. wherein] in which Pope, Han. 

11. to-andfro-confUcling] Hyphens, 

was meant by ' the main' in the former passage. Dbuus doubts that this means the 
land ; the sense being rather that the curled waters swell above their own especial 
domain, the sea, and overflow the land. Jennkns : Though all the editions have 
• main,' it is very likely Sh. wrote moon, which is much better, because it more 
strongly expresses (according to Shakespeare's custom) the confusion which Lear in 
his rage would have introduced into nature; besides, * main ' is ambiguous, appli- 
cable to sea or land. The effect of overflowing the land is not so great nor so certain 
confusion; the sea often does that and returns to its usual bounds; whereas the 
swelling of the waters above the moon is entirely preternatural, and best answers the 
madness of bidding the wind blow the earth into the sea. According to Schmidt 
(Lex.), Sh. uses ' main ' more frequently for the sea than for the land, but here clearly 
for the latter. 

8, 9. Which . • • of] Heath : Which the impetuous blasts, with undiscerning 
rage, catch in their fury, and scatter or disperse to nothing as fast as he tears it off. 
Deuus, more correctly, interprets 'make nothing of as meaning to treat with 
irreverence ; as Schmidt says, it is the opposite to ' make much of.' 

10. little world of man] There may be a reference here to the phraseology of 
the early astrologers, who were wont to call Man the microcosm, or ' the little world/ 
as containing in miniature the elements of the macrocosm, which is the universe, 
terrestrial and heavenly. See Cornelius Agrippa Magische Werke, ii, cap. 27 ; or 
Paracelsus Sagacis Philosophies, 1 658, Lib. i, p. 532, a. In vol. ix of Dodsley's Old 
Plays there is A Morall Maske by Thomas Nabbes, called Microcosmus, 1 637; in 
the commendatory verses both by Rich. Broome and Will. Cufaude, ' man ' is spoken 
of as < the little world.' I am not sure that the macrocosm is not referred to by 
Gloucester in IV, vi, 133 : < O ruin'd piece of nature ! This great world shall so wear 
out to nought/ perhaps alluding to the bond which, as astrologers maintain, exists 
between the little world and the great world. In reference to the macrocosm, see 
notes on Faust, either in Hayward's or Taylor's translation. — Ed. 

10. out-scorn] Steevens: I suspect we should read 'out-storm.' Compare 
Lovers' Complaint, 7 : ' Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain/ 

12. cub-drawn] Pope : A bear drawn by nature to its young. Upton (p. 31 1, 
ed. i) : That is, having her cubs drawn from her, being robbed of her cubs. War- 
BURTON : That is, a bear whose dugs have been drawn dry by its young. Even 
hunger and the support of its young, would not force the bear to leave her den on 
such a night. Steevens notes the recurrence of the same idea in As You Like it* 
IV, ii, 115 and 127. 

1 68 KING LEAR [ACTin,saL 

* The lion and the belly-pinched wolf 13 

* Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs, 

* And bids what will take alL* 

Kent. But who is with him ? 1 5 

Gent. None but the Fool ; who labours to out-jest 
His heart-strook injuries. 

Kent. Sir, I do know you ; 

And dare, upon the warrant of my note, 
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, 
Although as yet the face of it is cover'd 20 

With mutual cunning, 'twixt Albany and Cornwall ; 
Who have — as who have not, that their great stars 
Throned and set high ? — servants, who seem no less^ 
Which are to France the spies and speculations 

13. belly-pinched'] Hyphen, Pope. 22-29. Who have....... furnishings J] 

17. heart-strook] F,F 4 , Cap. Knt, Sch. Om. Qq. In the margin, Pope, Han. 
heart-ftrooke F s F a . heart Jlrooke Qq. 22. that] whom Rowe ii+ . 
heart-struck Rowe et ceL stars] Stars have Ktly. 

18. note] Arte or art Qq, Cap. Mai. 23. Throned] Throrid Ff. Throne 
Steev. Bos. Theob. ii, Warb. Johns. Cap. Ec Dyce ii. 

19. There is] There s Pope +, Dyce ii. Huds. Coll. iii. 

20. t>]Ff+,Cap.Sch. JiQqetcet. high?— ] i/^/Roweii. high; 

21. cunning] craft Pope, Han. Ff. high, Rowe i. 

15. take all] Schmidt : An exclamation of despair, like ' Lucifer take all ' ; « 9 
shame take all,' &c. ; also, apparently, by players when staking all on a single card. 
4 Wouldst thou fight well ?' asks Anthony of Enobarbus, and the latter replies ' I'll 
strike, and cry Take all.' French Va tout I 

18. my note] Johnson : My observation. Capell (who here followed the Qq) 
explains art as the ' art of manners and face-judging, skill in knowledge of men. 9 
Malone quotes as in favour of the Qq, Macb. I, iv, 1 1, 12. Hudson : But it ap- 
pears Kent * knows ' his man, and therefore has no occasion to use the art or skill 
in question. 

19. dear] See I, iv, 266. 

23. who seem no less] Capell supposes that this means servants that seem 
as great as themselves, servants in high place. Deuus, however, interprets it as 
servants who seem to be no less, or no other, than what they are — namely, servants. 

24. speculations] Johnson (Diet.) : Examiner, spy. The word is found no- 
where else, and is probably here misprinted for speculators. [This conj. was 
adopted by Singer (ed. ii), and Hudson.] Collier (ed. ii) : Spectators is the 
word substituted by the (MS). ' Speculations ' cannot well on any account be right, 
while spectators completes both meaning and metre ; of course, the emphasis in spec- 
tators must not here be placed on the second syllable. See Schmidt (Lex.), p. 1421, 
for a list of over sixty instances in Sh. of the use of the abstract for the concrete, to 
which ' discretion,' U, iv, 145, may be added. 

ACtni,SC.L] KING LEAR 1 69 

Intelligent of our state. What hath been seen, 2$ 

Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes, 

Or the hard rein which both of them have borne 

Against the old kind king, or something deeper, 

Whereof perchance these are but furnishings ; 

* But true it is, from France there comes a power 30 

* Iuto this scattered kingdom ; who already, 

* Wise in our negligence, have secret feet 

* In some of our best ports, and are at point 

25. state.'] Ff+, Sch. state; Stcev. 31-35- Into... far] As in Pope. Four 

•t cet lines, ending negligence...Ports % ...banner 

hath] have Pope ii. ...farre in Qq. 

27. have] hath F f . 31. scattered] fcattered Q,. featterd 

29. furnishings ;]C*p. furnishings— Q,. shatter' d Han. scathed Warb. 
Rowe+. fumijhings. Ff, Johns. Jtour* 32. have] hath Jen, 

ishings. Coll. (MS). feet] fee Q, t Johns. Jen. see Q,. 

30-42.] Om. Ff, Rowe. sea Pope, Theob. Han. seiteVJzxh. foot 

3a But] And Han. Cap. £c 

25. Intelligent] Johnson (Diet.) : Giving information. Steevens : What fol- 
lows are the circumstances in the state of the kingdom, of which he supposes the 
spies gave France the intelligence. Schmidt cites also III, v, 9, and III, 
vii, 11. 

25-29. What hath • • • furnishings] Schmidt : Whether these incomplete sen* 
tences are due to the poet, or to the style in which the scene has been transmitted to 
us, cannot be decided ; lines 22-29 are lacking in the Qq, and from 30-42 in the 
Ff, and it is easily conceivable that between 29 and 30 there were other lines which 
have been omitted in both texts. 

26. snuffs] Wright : Quarrels. Nares : To take in snuff is to be angry, to 
take offence. 

26. packings] Steevens : Underhand contrivances. [See Ham. Ill, iv, 211.] 
29. furnishings] Johnson: What we now call colours, external pretenses. 
Steevens : A furnish anciently signified a sample. So in the Epistle before 
Greene's Groats-worth of Witte : * For to lend the world a furnish of witte she layes 
her owne to pawne.' Staunton : Steevens's illustration from Greene is not con- 
clusive. Hudson : That is, whereof these things are but the trimmings or append- 
ages, not the thing itself, but only the circumstances or furniture of the thing, 
Wright : In Scotland the trimmings of a lady's dress are called ' furnishings.' 

31. 8catter*d] Johnson : Divided, unsettled, disunited. Schmidt : Sh. does not 
elsewhere use the word in this sense. Perhaps Hanmer's shattered is right. 

32. feet] Upton (p. 195, ed. ii) suggests seat — that is, secretly situated, or lodged, 
or perhaps see for the Latin sedes, which is used by Douglas in his version of Virgil, 
and by Chaucer, and which still survives in ' a Bishop's see.' Schmidt : This ex- 
pression is akin to the language of the time, when footed meant the same as 

33. at point] See I, iv, 319. 


170 KING LEAR [ACTin f sc.L 

* To show their open banner. Now to you ; 

* If on my credit you dare build so far 35 

* To make your speed to Dover, you shall find 

* Some that will thank you, making just report 

* Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow 

* The king hath cause to plain. 

* I am a gentleman of blood and breeding, 40 

* And from some knowledge and assurance offer 

* This office to you.* 

Gent. I will talk further with you. 

Kent. N<% do not 

For confirmation that I am much more 

Than my out-wall, open this purse and take 45 

What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia,— 
As fear not but you shall, — show her this ring, 
And she will tell you who that fellow is 
That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm 1 
I will go seek the king. 

Gent. Give me your hand ; 50 

Have you no more to say ? 

Kent. Few words, but, to effeft, more than all yet ; 

35. credit] creditt Q,. 43. further] farther Qq. 

38. bemadding] madding Pope, Han. 44. lam] /Qq. 

39-42.] Lines end gentle* 47. fear] doubt Q,. 

man t ...knowledge Cap. this] M*/Rowe+. 

41,42. And.] As in Jen. The 48. that] Ff, Jen. Knt, Coll. Del. Wh. 

first line ends ajpurance Qq. Ktly, Sch. this Rowe + . your Qq et cet. 

assurance,... .you.] assurance of 50, 51. Give.. jay f] One line, Qq. 

you, Offer this office. Pope + . Assur* 52-55. Four lines, ending to... found 

ance of you, offer this office to you. Cap. ..Jhis — ...other. Sch. 

43. I will] ril Pope+. 

35, 36. so . . . To] See I, iv, 36; II, iv, 11. 

43. I . . . you] Deuus : This implies a courteous postponement or dismissal of 
a request ; this explains Kent's reply. 

48. fellow] Schmidt : That is, companion. It is only by its use in this sense 
that we can understand Malvolio's blunder: Met this fellow be looked to: fellow! 
not Malvolio, nor after my degree, but fellow.' As a general rule this word is found 
In this sense joined to a possessive pronoun, and therefore many editors prefer 'your 
fellow • of the Qq. 

52. to effect] Abbott, § 186 : The use of to meaning ' with a view to, ' for an 
end,' &c, is of course still common before verbs, but the Elizabethans used to in 
this sense before nouns. 

ACT III, SC. ii.] 



That when we have found the king, — in which your pain 53 

That way, I'll this, — he that first lights on him 

Holla the other. [Exeunt severally. 5 5 

Scene II. Another part of the heath. Storm still. 

Enter Lear and Fool. 

Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks I rage I blow I 
You cataradts and hurricanoes, spout 
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks t 
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, 
Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts, 5 

53—55. Three lines, ending King 9 ... 
tights.., other. Qq. 

53* 54* in—this,] Ff. lie this way 9 
you that Qq, Jen. in which you take 
That way, I this Pope, Theob. Warb. 
for which you take That way I this 
Han. Johns. 

54. way,] way; Steev. Ec. Var. Knt. 

55. Holla] hollow QqF 4 . Halloo 
Warb. Johns. 

[Exeunt severally.] Theob. Ex- 
cunt. QqFf. 

Scene 11.] ScenaSecunda.Ff. (Scsena 
FJ. Scene continued by Rowe, Theob. 
Another part...] Cap. 
Storm still.] Om. Qq. 
I. winds] windes F t F a . wind Qq, 
Jen. Mai. Steev. Bos. Sing. 

rage! blow!] blow! rage! and 

blow ! Cap. conj. (in Corrigenda, vol. x). 
2-9. Eight lines, ending drencht... 
and..Jo...head % ..ftat....natures....maki... 
man. Qq. 

2. cataracls] coterie kesQ^. carttrickes 


hurricanoes] HyrricandsY v Hur* 
ricands F,FF 4 . Hircanios Qq. 

3. our] Ff. The Qq, Jen. 
drowrid] drownd Q . drown F t 

FjF 4 , Rowe. drowne F t . 

4. sulphurous] Cap. fulpherous Qq. 
Sulph'rousF(+ 9 Sch. 

thought-executing] No hyphen, Qq. 

5. Vaunt-couriers] Pope. vaunt' 
currers Qq. Vaunt-curriors Ff. Vant* 
couriers Cap. 

of] Ff+, Cap. Dyce i, Sch. to 
Qq et cet. 

53, 54. in . • . this] Wright : In which your pain (lies) That way, I'll (go) this. 

Scene II] This scene is quoted at length, with comments of admiration, in 
Smith's Longinus, p. 108. 

2. cataracts] Moberly: Probably in the sense in which we have KarafrfraKToc. 
Ijippoc in Greek. 

2. hurricanoes] Dyce: Water-spouts. See Tro. and Cres. V, ii, 172. 

4. thought-executing] Johnson: Doing execution with rapidity equal to 
thought. Moberly : This idea seems rather to be involved in the compound than 
expressed by it; as ' thought-executing' must mean 'executing the thought of Him 
who casts you.' 

5. Vaunt-couriers] Steevens : It originally meant the foremost scouts of an 
army. In Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia , 1607 : 'As soon as the first vancurrer 
encountered him face to face.' Malone : Compare ' Jove's lightnings, the precursors 
o' the dreadful thunder-claps.' — Temp. I, ii, 201. Hunter (ii, 270) calls attention 





Singe my white head ! And thou, all-shaking thunder, 
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' th' world ! 
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once 
That make ingrateful man !• 

Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is 
better than this rain-water out o' door. Good nuncle, in ; 
ask thy daughters' blessing; here's a night pities neither 
wise men nor fools. 


6. Singe] Jing Q t . Sindge Ff. 
all-shaking] No hyphen, Qq. 

7. Strike] /mite Qq, Glo+, Mob. 
dth'] of the Qq. 

8. moulds] Mold Qq, Pope+ , Jen. Ec. 
germens] Cap. Germains, Qq, 

Rowe, Pope, germaines FjF^ ger> 
manes F,F 4 . germins Theob.+, Coll. 

9. make] makes Ff, Rowe, Ktly, Sch. 
10-13. Four lines, ending houfe.... 

door...blejfing...foole. in Qq. 

10. court holy -water] court-hofy-water 

10, 11. hcly-water...jwn-waler] No 
hyphens, Qq. 

11. this rain-water] the Rain-water 
F 9 F 4 , Rowe, Pope i, Han. the rain- 
waters Pope ii+. 

o y door] a doore Qq. 

12. ask] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han, Cap. 
Knt, Dyce i, Sch. andaske Qq et cet> 

daughters*] Daughter* F f . 
pities] that pities Pope+. 
neither] nether Q;. neyther Q,. 

13. men nor fools] man norfoole Qq, 
Jen. Glo.+, Mob. 

to the use of this ' very rare word ' in Harsnet, where one of the Peckhaxns is called 
• the harbinger, the host, the steward, the vaunt-courier, the sacrist, and the pander 9 
to the priests. Wright: Cotgrave gives, 'Avant-coureur: m. A forerunner, Auant 

7. rotundity] Delius : This, in connection with what follows, suggests not only 
the sphere of the globe, but the roundness of gestation. 

8. Crack • • . once] Theobald : Crack nature's mould and spill all the seeds of 
matter that are hoarded within it See the same thought in Wint. Tale % IV, iv, 489. 
For 'germens,' i, e. seeds, see Macb. IV, i, 59. 

8. spill] Steevens : To destroy. [See Ham. IV, v,. 20.] 

10. court holy- water] Steevens: Ray, among his proverbial phrases, p. 184, 
mentions ' court holy-waler' to mean fair words. The French have the same phrase : 
Eau benite de cour. M ALONE: Cotgrave has *Eau beniste de Cour. Court holy 
water; complements, faire words, flattering speeches, glosing, soothing, palpable 
cogging.' Florio gives ' Mantellisxare, to flatter, to faune, to claw, to sooth vp, to 
cog and foist with, to giue one court holie water.' Singer cites Florio : ' Gonfiare 
alcuno, to soothe or flatter one, to set one a gogge or with faire words bring him into 
a fooles Paradise, to fill one with hopes, or Court-holy-water.' [Wright follows 
Singer in giving this definition from Florio, but neither of them mentions the date 
of the edition. In the edition of 1598 the definition does not give 'court holy- 
water;' instead it reads 'to perswade one that the moone is made of greene 
cheese;' Dare Vallodola is there defined 'to giue one court-hollie water, to giue a 
gudgeon.' — Ed.] 

12. pities] Although the omission of the relative is common enough (see Abbott, 

ACT in, sc. ii.] 


1 73 

Lear. Rumble thy bellyful ! Spit, fire ! spout, rain I 
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters, 1 5 

I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness ; 
I never gave you kingdom, call'd yoir children, 
You owe me no subscription ; then let fall 
Your horrible pleasure ; here I stand, your slave, 
A poor, infirm, weak and despised old man. 20 

But yet I call you servile ministers, 
That will with two pernicious daughters join 
Your high-engender'd battles 'gainst a head 
So old and white as this. Oh ! Oh I 'tis foul 1 

Fool. He that has a house to put's head in has a good 25 


The cod-piece that will house 

Before the head has any, 

The head and he shall louse; 

14. bellyful} Mai. belly full QqFf. 
Spit, fire I spout, rain I] Cap. 
/pit fire, /pout raine, QqFf (fpowt 


16. tax] ta/ke Qq. 

17. kingdom] kingdoms Johns. 
18-24. Lines end horrible.,.and../er» 

$tiU...ioin i d... white. ..foul*, in Qq. 

18. subscription] submission Pope, 

then] why then Qq, Jen. Steer. 
Ec. Var. 

22. will...join] Ff, Rowe, Cap. Knt, 
Coll. i, Del. Sing. Dyce i f Wh. Ktly, 

Sch. haue...ioin'd Qq et cet. 

23. high-engender* d] high engendered 


battles] Battailes F,F,. Battels 
T r battel Q,. battellQ^ 

24. Oh I Oh J] Theob. Warb. Johns. 
Jen. Ktly. O, hoi Ff, Rowe, Pope, 
Han. Sch. O Qq. O, O, Cap. et cet. 

25. put's] put his Qq, Mai. Steev. Bos. 
Knt, Del. Sing. Ktly. 

26. [Sings. Cap. 

27-34. As in Johns. Four lines, Ff. 
Prose, Qq. 
28. head has any,] head, has any Qq. 

$ 244), in dignified speech, yet here in the Fool's speeches this and many other col* 
loquialisms are to be expected. 

16. Moberly calls attention to the similarity of thought in the song, * Blow, blow, 
thou winter wind,' in As You Like It, 

18. subscription] Upton (p. 292): Allegiance, submission. See I, ii, 24. 
Schmidt : Used nowhere else in Sh. On the other hand, the verb is frequently 
found meaning to yield, to pay respect, to submit to something. 

19. slave] Warburton, insensible to the drift of these lines, changed this to 
* Brave.* < That is, I defy your worst rage, as he had said just before.* Heath, in 
exposing the folly of this change, thus paraphrases : ' Here I stand, submitting to 
every indignity you can put upon me. Do with me what you please. For I am " a 
poor, infirm, weak and despised old man." But yet, notwithstanding my submission 
to your power, I have a right to expostulate and to call you servile ministers.' 

27. cod-piece] Dyce (Gloss.): An ostentatiously indelicate part of the male 


!74 KING LEAR [act m, sc IL 

So beggars marry many. 30 

77ie **a# //&*/ makes his toe 

What lie his heart should make 
Shall of a corn cry woe, 
And turn Jus sleep to wake. 
For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths 35 
in a glass. 

Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience. 
I will say nothing. 

Enter Kent. 

Kent. Who's there ? 

31. The man] That man F S F +. Sta. Glo.+, Coll. iii, Sch. After pa» 

33. Shall of ] Jhall haut Qq, Jen. Hence, line 37, Qj. After glafs, line 36, 

37. pattern] patience FF 4 . Ff et cet. 

Scene in. Pope+,Jen. 39. Jtffo'j] fVAo/eC^. 

Enter Kent] As in Q,, Dyce, 

dress, which was put to several uses, — to stick pins in, to carry the purse in, &c. &c 
[See line 40.] 

30. many] Johnson : That is, a beggar marries a wife and lice. Mason : Rather, 
so many beggars marry. 

31, 32. The . . . make] Capell : By making a * toe ' of one's ' heart ' is signify' d— 
the making that our last object which should be our first, and under it is shadow'd the 
king's folly in surrend'ring his power; and this folly he pins upon him still faster by 
observing — that he surrendered it to women. Eccles thinks that these lines are but 
a repetition of the same * immodest allusion ' as is contained in the first quatrain, 
' which turns upon the idea of housing* But he thinks ' a greater consistency of 
meaning' will be attained by reading head instead of 'heart.' White: Unless the 
Fool means that the man who keeps his toe as close as he should keep bis counsel 
or the thoughts of his heart, I do not know what he means. [The meaning, if it be 
worth a search, seems to be this : A man who prefers or cherishes a mean member 
in place of a vital one shall suffer enduring pain where others would suffer merely a 
twinge. Lear had preferred Regan and Goneril to Cordelia. — Ed.] 

35. Eccles hazards the remarkable conjecture that this line is ( descriptive of that 
sort of treachery which the power of beauty enables a woman more readily to prac- 
tise, and which is shewn by her first addressing a man with kind speeches and 
expressions of regard, and then turning suddenly round and making mouths at his 
figure represented in a looking-glass. — Possibly an allusion might be designed to an 
affected disrelish of the liquor contained in a drinking-glass, while inwardly, and in 
reality, to use a common expression, she takes it to heart, supposing falsehood and 
deceit to be the general concomitant of beauty.' Moberly : For women, daughters 
included, are apt to have little faulty ways. [This is the Fool's way of diverting 
attention after he has said something a little too pointed ; the idea of a very pretty 
woman making faces in a looking-glass raises a smile. For the expression ' making 
mouths/ see Ham. II, ii, 347 ; IV, iv, 50. — Ed.] 

37 '» 3$. Steevens : So Perillus, in the old play, speaking of Leir: 'But he, the 

act ni, sc. ii.] KING LEAR 1 75 

Fool. Marry, here's grace and a cod-piece; that's a 40 

wise man and a fool. 
Kent. Alas, sir, are you here ? Things that love night 

Love not such nights as these ; the wrathful skies 

Gallow the very wanderers of the dark, 

And make them keep their caves ; since I was man, 45 

Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder, 

Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never 
\ Remember to have heard. Man's nature cannot carry 
j Th* affli&ion nor the fear. 
1 Lear. Let the great gods, 

40. cod-piece] codpit Qq 42. art you] fit you Qq, Jen. 

41. wist man] wiftman QqFjF,, Sch. 44. Gallow the] gallow, the Qq. Gaily 
Wife-man F,F 4 . the Jen. 

42-60. A/as... ..sinning.] Lines end wanderers] wanderer Qq. 

heere t....thefe ;...of the...caues, t ... 45. make] makes Qq. 

grones of. ...remember....cary.... force.... 47. never] nfre Q t . nere Q t . t ...thee...Iustice t ...and.... 49. fear] force Qq, Pope, Theob, 

ince/lious, couert....Mfe t centers t Han. Warb. 

grace t ... finning t Qq. 

myrrour of mild patience, Puts np all wrongs, and never gives reply.' [See Ap- 
pendix, p. 396.] 

40. grace] Steevens : In Shakespeare's time, * the king's grace ' was the usual 

40. cod-piece] Douce: Sh. has with some humour applied this name to the 
Fool, who, for obvious reasons, was usually provided with this unseemly part of 
dress in a more remarkable manner than other persons. 

42. are you here] Jennens, following the Qq, says that the reading of the Ff 
seems to be ' an alteration made for the ease of the actors, that he who acted Lear 
might not have the trouble of sitting down on the ground, and rising again ; but if 
propriety of action take place, what can be more proper than Lear's seating himself, 
after his last speech ?' Jennens inserts a stage-direction to that effect. 

44. Gallow] Wright : That is, terrify. ' Gaily ' in the same sense is still used 
as a provincialism. See Jennings on the Dialects in the West of England. In the 
Glossary to Palmer's Devonshire Dialogue, ' Galled ' is explained as ' frightened.' 
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica (eighth ed.), art. Mammalia, p. 232, col. 2, we read 
of the sperm whale that ( when frightened it is said by the sailors to be " gallied," 
probably galled.' But this is an error. Huntley (Glossary of the Cotswold Dialect), 
gives < Gallow. To alarm ; to frighten.' There is an Anglo-Saxon word galan, to 
terrify, from which it is probably derived. Herbert Coleridge {Philological Soc. 
Trans., 1858, p. 123) gives a derivation, proposed by M. Metivier of Guernsey, from 
the dialect of that island — viz. Egalualr, signifying to dazzle, —tblouir, a meaning 
which, as Coleridge says, hardly applies to the present passage. Venables (Athemtum, 
13 Nov. '75) says this word is still used in the Isle of Wight 

49. affliction . . . fear] Hudson : 'Affliction' for infliction; the two being then 

+ "' 

176 KING LEAR [act in, sc. iL 

That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads, 50 

Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch, 

That hast within thee undivulged crimes, 

Unwhipp'd of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand ; 

Thou perjured, and thou simular of virtue 

That art incestuous. Caitiff, to pieces shake, • 55 

That under covert and convenient seeming 

Has praftised on man's life. Close pent-up guilts, 

Rive your concealing continents and cry 

These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man 

50. pudder] Ff, Rowe, Theob. Warb. 55. to pieces shake] in peeces Jkake 

Knt, Del. Sing. Ktly. Powther Q f . Qq. shake to pieces Pope + . 

Thundring Q,, Pope, Han. Cap. po- 56. covert and convenient] cover of 

ther Johns, et cet. convivial Warb. conj. 

54. perjured] perjure Theob. Han. 57. Has] Ff (Ha's F t ), Rowe, Sen. 
Warb. Johns. Coll. iii. Haft Qq et cet. 

and thou] thou Warb. 58. concealing continents] concealed 

simular] Jimular ma* Qq, Pope, centers Qq. 

Cap. Glo.+, Mob. cry] ask Pope+. 

55. incestuous] inceftious Qq. 

■ ■^"^■»— *— — *~— ■^-^^^™»^"^^™^— — — — — — — ■— ^ 

equivalent. Man's nature cannot endure the infliction, nor even the fear of it. So, 
in the Prayer-Boole, < Defend us from all dangers and mischiefs, and from the fear 
of them.' 

50. pudder] Steevens : So in Beau, and Fl.'s Scornful Lady [II, ii, p. 35, ed. 
Dyce] : * Some fellows would have cried now, and have curs' d thee, And fain out 
with their meat, and kept a pudder.' [It is to me a sufficient reason for preferring 
* pudder ' to pother, that Charles Lamb preferred it ; in his remarks on this play it is 
the word he uses. — Ed.] 

54. perjured] Theobald, with much probability, amended this to perjure on the 
Analogy of its use in Love's Lab. Lost, IV, iii, 47 : * he comes in like a perjure wear 
ing papers,' and also in The Troublesome Reign of King John : ' But, now black- 
spotted Perjure as he is.' It is also the reading of Collier's (MS). Where the 
QqFf all agree, and the sense is clear, change seems needless, although perjure with 
4 simular ' gives greater symmetry to the line. 

54. simular] Collier: A 'simular' is a simulator; possibly we ought to spell 
it simuler, 

56. convenient seeming] Johnson : That is, appearance such as may promote bis 
purpose to destroy. Delius dissents, and thinks it means rather befitting hypocrisy. 

57. practised] Dyce : To use arts or strategems, to plot. 

58. continents] Johnson : That which contains or encloses. [See Ham. IV, 
iv, 64.] 

59. summoners] Steevens : The officers that summon offenders before a tribunal. 
59, 60. I . . . sinning] Tyrwhitt : CEdipus, in Sophocles, represents himself in 

the same light : • ra •/ ipya pov UeirovOoY korl paVuov $ SeSpaxdra.' — Colon, [line 
266, ed. Dindorf.] 


act in. sc ii.] KING LEAR 1 77 

More sinn'd against than sinning. 

Kent. Alack, bare-headed ? 60 

Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hfcvel ; 
Some friendship will it lend you 'gainst the tempest ; 
Repose you there ; while I to this hard house- 
More harder than the stones whereof 'tis raised ; 
Which even but now, demanding after you, 65 

Denied ipe to come in — return, and force 
Their scanted courtesy. 

Lear. My wits begin to turn.— 

Come on, my boy ; how dost, my boy ? art cold ? 
I am cold myself. — Where is this straw, my fellow?— 
The art of our necessities is strange,. 70 

60. sinn*d] find Qq. hard then is theftone Qq et cet 
than] their Qq. 65. you] me Qq. 

60-67. Alack. ..courtesy,] Prose, Qq. 67. wits begin] wit begins Qq. 

63. while] whilfi Qq. 69. I am] rm Pope +, Jen. DyceiL 
64-66. More... in] Parenthesis, Ff. this] the Theob. Warb. Johns. 

64. harder.. Mones] Ff, Rowe, Knt, 70-72. lines end can...poore,...heart 
Del. Dyce, Sta. Ktly, Glo. + , Mob. Sen. Qq. 

61. Gracious my lord] See Abbott, § 13. 

65. even but now] Abbott, § 38 : Even now with us is applied to an action that 
has been going on for some long time and still continues, the emphasis being laid on 
4 now/ In Sh. the emphasis is often to be laid on < even,' and * even now ' means 
• exactly or only now.' 

65. demanding] Wright: 'Demand' and * require' are both used formerly in 
the simple sense of ' ask/ without the further idea which the words have now ac- 
quired of asking with authority. See Temp. I, ii, 139 ; Cym. Ill, vi, 92. 

67-73. Bucknill (p. 195) : The import of this must be weighed with IV, vi, 
100-104, when Lear is incoherent and full of delusion. Insanity arising from mental 
and moral causes often continues in a certain state of imperfect developement ; • • • a 
state of exaggerated and perverted emotion, accompanied by violent and irregular 
conduct, but unconnected with intellectual aberration ; until some physical shock is 
incurred, — bodily illness, or accident, or exposure to physical suffering; and then 
the imperfect type of mental disease is converted into perfect lunacy, characterised 
by more or less profound affection of the intellect, by delusion or incoherence. This 
is evidently the case in Lear, and although we have never seen the point referred to 
by any writer, and have again and again read the play without perceiving it, we 
cannot doubt from these passages, and especially from the second, in which the poor 
madman's imperfect memory refers to his suffering in the storm, that Sh. contem- 
plated this exposure and physical suffering as the cause of the first crisis in the mal- 
ady. Our wonder at his profound knowledge of mental disease increases, the more 
carefully we study his works ; here and elsewhere he displays with prolific careless* 
ness a knowledge of principles, half of which would make the reputation of a mod- 
ern psychologist. 




[ACT III, sc iL 

And can make vilde things precious. — Come, your hovel,— 7 1 
Poor Fool and knave, I have one part in my heart 
That's sorry yet for thee. 

Fool. He that has and a little tiny wit, 

With heigh-ho, the wind and tlie rain, 75 

Must make content with /lis fortunes fit, 
Though the rain it raineth every day. 
Lear. True, boy. — Come, bring us to this hovel. 

[Exeunt Lear and Kent. 
Fool. This is a brave night to cool a courtezan. 1 11 speak 
& prophecy ere I go : 80 

When priests are more in word than matter; 
When brewers mar their malt with water; 

71. And] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sta. Sch. 
That Qq ct cet. 

vilde] Q 9 F t F„ Jen. vild Q.F^, 
Rowe, Sch. vile Pope et cet. 

71,72. your hovel. Poor Fool] your 
houel; Poore Poole, Ff. you houell poore, 
Poole Qq. 

72. / have one part in] I haue one 
part of Qq. I've one thing in Pope. 
JTve one string in Han. Warb. Pve 
one part in Theob. Johns. Jen. Dyce ii. 

73. That's sorry] That forroiues Qq. 

74. [Sings. Cap. 
74-77. Prose in Qq. 

74. and] Om. Qq, Cap. Jen. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Coll. Del. Wh. an Theob. 
Warb. Johns. 

little tiny] little tynie Pope, little 
tineQq. HttletyneYi. little tyne Rowe. 

75. heigh-ho] hey ho Qq. height- ho 
F,F S F 4 . a heigh, ho, Cap. conj. MS * 
rain] rain in his way Johns, conj., 

77. Though] Ff + , Jen. Knt, Del. 
Sing. Dyce, Sta. Ktly, Sch. for Qq 
et cet 

78. boy] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Dyce i, Sta. 
Sch. my good boy Qq et cet. 

hovel.] houell t Q E . 
[Exeunt...] Cap. Exit. Ff. Om. 
79-95. Om. Qq. 

79,80. This..go:] Mai. Two lines, 
Ff + ,Cap. 

79. This is] ' Tis Pope + . 
courtezan] Curtizan Ff. 

80. ere] or ere Pope, Theob. Han* 
or two ere Warb. 

81. word] words F $ F 4 +. 

73. sorry] White : The reading of the Qq is certainly not inferior. 

74. Steevens : See the song in Twelfth Night, V, i, 398. [This may have been 
the same song, but changed by the Fool to suit the occasion; the music of the 
Twelfth Night song will be foupd in Chappell i, 225. Will it be believed that Gif- 
ford (Jonson's Works, vi, 266) called this Twelfth Night song « silly trash'?— Ed.] 

74. and] According to Abbott, §§ 95, 96, this is used emphatically, with and 
without participles, for also, even, and that too. 4 We still use and that to give em- 
phasis and call attention to an additional circumstance — e. g. '* He was condemned 
and that unheard." Here it means " a little and that a very little " ' 

81, et sea.] White: I believe this is an interpolation. This loving, faithful crea- 
ture would not let his old master go off half-crazed in that storm, that he might stop 
and utter such pointless and uncalled-for imitation of Chaucer. The absence of this 
prophecy from the edition of 1608, is corroborative evidence that it is an interpolation; 

act in, sc. ii.] KING LEAR 1 79 

When nobles are their tailors' tutors ; 83 

No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors ; 

When every case in law is right ; 85 

for the passage is one which, if it had been spoken at the time when the copy for that 
edition was obtained, whether surreptitiously or not, would hardly have been omitted, 
Cowden Clarke : This prophecy is clearly a scrap of ribaldry tacked on, by the actor 
who played the Fool, to please ' the barren spectators ' ; just one of those instances 
of irrelevant and extemporaneous jesting to which Sh. himself, through his character 
of Hamlet, so strongly objects. The fact of the Fool's present speech occurring 
after Lear has left the stage alone serves to condemn it as spurious. Koppel (p. 79), 
on the other hand, thinks that this speech was added by Sh. after the text which we 
have in the Qq was written; ' the poet was generous to this, the most amiable of all 
his Fools, and even added somewhat to his part' Warburton discerned not one, 
but two, prophecies here : * the first, a satyrical description of the present manners as 
future; and the second, a satyrical description of future manners, which the corrup- 
tion of the present would prevert from ever happening. Each of these prophecies 
has its proper inference or deduction ; yet by an unaccountable stupidity, the first 
editors took the whole to be one prophecy,, and so jumbled the two contrary in- 
ferences together/ Accordingly, Warburton transposed lines 93, 94 to follow line 
84; that concludes the first prophecy, and Warburton points the allusion to the pres- 
ent time by adding parenthetically after them, *i. e. Now. 9 The remaining lines 
compose the second prophecy, and at the end of the last line Warburton adds, < t. /. 
Never.' Warburton's change was followed in the text by Hanmer, Johnson, Jen- 
nens, and Eccles. Capell grants Warburton's conclusions, but denounces the 
transposition of the lines as ' destructive of humour, and of the speaker's wild cha- 
racter which disclaims regularity.' CapelTs explanation is that Sh. wrote two speeches 
for the Fool, ' one comprising the whole of that prophecy which relates to things 
present ; it's conclusion a waggery [t. e., I suppose, the line: ' No heretics burn'd, 
&c], at which the speaker might face about and be going, but return to speak the 
lines about Merlin, which lines belong with equal propriety to the prophecy about 
things that will not be ... it is conceiv'd, further, that these seperate [sic] prophecies 
were at first spoken seperately, or on seperate nights ; or one drop'd for the other, and 
we judge the drop'd one the first ; that both were found in his manuscripts, standing 
irregularly; and took their form from the players, who might even present them so 
after their author's death ' Steevens refers to Puttenham's Arte o/Poesie, 1589, as 
containing these lines. [See p. 232, ed. Arber. ( Sir Geffrey Chaucer, father of our 
English Poets, hath these verses following the distributor [a rhetorical term] : When 
faith failes in Priestes sawes, And Lords hestes are holden for lawes, And robberie 
is tane for purchase, And lechery for solace, Then shall the Realme of Albion Be 
brought to great confusion.' The original, which is called Chaucer's Prophecy, may 
be found in vol. vi, p. 307, ed. Morris. See Brown's note, I, iv, 91. — Ed.] 

83. tutors] Warburton : That is, invent fashions for them. Delius queries if 
it should not be taken in the larger meaning of taking care of their tailors, and not 
ruining them by failing to pay their bills. Schmidt says it merely means : When 
nobles arc the teachers of their tailors, and better understand the handicraft. 

84. No • • • suitors] Johnson : The disease to which wenches' suitors are par- 
ticularly exposed was called, in Shakespeare's time, the brenning or burning. 



[ACT HI, SC. ill 

No squire in debt, no poor knight ; 86 

When slanders do not live in tongues, 
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs ; 
When usurers tell their gold i* th' field, 
And bawds and whores do churches build, go 

Then shall the realm of Albion 
Come to great confusion. 
Then comes the time, who lives to see't, 
That going shall be used with feet 
This prophecy Merlin shall make ; for I live before his time. 95 


Scene III. A Room in Gloucester's Castle. 

Enter Gloucester and Edmund. 

Glou. -Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural 
dealing. When I desired their leave that I might pity him, 
they took from me the use of mine own house ; charged 
me, on pain of perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of 
him, entreat for him, or any way sustain him. 

Edm. Most savage and unnatural ! 

Glou. Go to; say you nothing. There is division be- 
tween the} dukes, and a worse matter than that : I have re- 
ceived a letter this night ; 'tis dangerous to be spoken ; I 
have locked the letter in my closet; these injuries the king 



86. nor no] and no Warb. Johns. 

87. not live] nor live F t . 

88. Nor] And?ope+. 

91, 92. As in Pope. One line, Ff. 

93, 94. Then -feet."] Transferred to 

follow line 84, by Warb. Han. Johns, 
Jen. Ec. 

93. see V] see it Mai. 

95. Hive] I do live (reading line 95 
as two lines) FF 4 +, Cap. 

Scene in.] Scsena Tertia Ff (Scena 
FjFJ. Scene ii. Rowe. Scene iv. 
Pope+, Jen. 

A Room...] Cap. An Apartment 
in Gloster's Castle. Rowe. 

Enter...] Enter Glofler, and the Baftard 
with lights, Qq (Gloccftcr Q a ). 

1-18. Prose, Ff. Twenty lines, Qq. 

3. took] took me Q . 

4. perpetual] Ff + , Cap. Knt, Dyce i, 
Del. ii, Sch. their Qq. their perpetual 
Jen. et cet. 

5. or] Ff + , Knt, Sch. nor Qq et cet 

6. and] Om. Rowe ii. 

7. There is] there's a Qq, Jen. Glo. + . 
between] betwixt Qq, Glo. + . 

95. before his time] Moberly : As, according to the legend, King Lear was 
contemporary with Joash, King of Judah. [See Holinshed, in Appendix, p. 384.] 

5. or] Schmidt : Compare Meas.for Meas. IV, ii, 108 : « neither in time, matter, or 
other circumstance; ' I Hen, VI: I, iii, 78 : ( not to wear, handle, or use any sword.' 

ACT UI # SC. iii.] 



now bears will be revenged home ; there is part of a power 1 1 
already footed; we must incline to the king. I will look 
him, and privily relieve him ; go you, and maintain talk 
with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived; if 
he ask for me, I am ill and gone to bed. If I die for it, 15 
as no less is threatened me, the king, my old master, must 
be relieved. There is strange things toward, Edmund; pray 
you, be careful. [Exit. 

Edm. This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the duke 
Instantly know, and of that letter too. 20 

This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me 
That which my father loses ; no less than all. 
The younger rises when the old doth fall [Exit. 

11. there is] ther is F E . There's Q,, 
GIo. Wr. Mob. Ther>s Q E . 

12. footed] landed Qq, Pope. 

look] Ff, Knt, Dyce i, Del. ii, 

Sch. look for Pope + . feeke Qq et cet 

15. bed. If] Johns. A*/, i/Ff, Rowe i. 

bed; if Rowe ii + , Cap. bed, though Qq. 

bed. Though G\o.-¥ , Dyce ii,Huds. Mob. 

for it] for '/Q,. 

17. is strange things] Ff, Rowe, Knt, 

Dyce i, Sta. Sch. are strange things 

Pope + , Jen. isfome Jtrange thing Qq 


19-23. lines end know t ...deferuing, 
...leffe...fall 9 in Qq. 

19. courtesy, forbid thee,] Theob. cur* 
tefie forbid thee, QqFf. courUsie forbid 
thee Pope, Han. courtesy, forbid thee I 
Huds. * 

21. draw me] draw to me Q,. 

22. loses] loofes Q t F t F f F J . 

23. The] then Qq. 
doth] doe Q,. do Q,. 

12. footed] Schmidt: Equivalent to landed, as the Qq read; compare III, vii, 
44; unless it mean on foot, as other editors explain it. 

12. look] Schmidt: Compare Mer. Wives, IV, ii, 83: * I will look some linen 
for your head ' ; As You Like It, II, v, 34: « He hath been all this day to look you.' 

17. toward] See II, i, 10. 

19. forbid] This is, as Wright says, 'forbidden; 9 the sentence means: This 
courtesy or charity which you are going to show the king, and which has been for- 
bidden to you, the duke shall instantly know. Hudson finds great difficulty in 
understanding the meaning of the phrase « forbid thee/ which he interprets (using 
* forbid' in the sense of ' He shall live a man forbid' in Macbeth, I, iii, 21) as equiv- 
alent to a curse upon thee / [Since the foregoing was written Hudson's separate edi* 
tion of Lear has appeared, in which, while adhering to his earlier interpretation and 
text, he concedes the possibility of the correctness of the present interpretation, bat 
asks, * does not this make the sense too tame ? ' — Ed.] 



[act hi, SC W 

Scene IV, T/ie heath. Before a hovel. 

Enter Lear, Kent, and Fool. 

Kent Here is the place, my lord ; good my lord, enter ; 
The tyranny of the open night's too rough 
For nature to endure. [Storm still. 

Lear. Let me alone. 

Kent. Good my lord, enter here. 

Lear. Wilt break my heart ? 

Kent. I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter. 

Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much that this contentious storm 
Invades us to the skin ; so 'tis to thee ; 
But where the greater malady is fix'd 
The lesser is scarce felt Thou'dst shun a bear, 

Scene iv.] Scena Quarta Ff (Scsena 

F,). Scene hi. Rowe. Scene v. 

Pope + , Jen. Scene vi. Ec. (misprint). 

The heath...] Glo. Part of the 

Heath with a Hovel. Rowe. 

1-3. Here. ..endure.] Prose, Qq. 

a. of the] of Pope. 
night's] nights Qg. 

3. [Storm still.] Om. Qq. At the be- 
ginning of the Scene, Cap. Dyce, Wh. 

3,4. Lear. Let.. .here.] Repeated by 
Johns. Steev. '73 (misprint). 

4. here] Om. Qq. 

Wilt] mirt Theob. h, Warb. 

5. Two lines in Ff. 

I had] QqFf, Cap. Dyce, Wh. Sta. 
Glo.+, Huds. Sch. I'd Pope et cet. 

6. contentious] tempejlious Q t . cru- 
lentious Q a . 

7. skin ; so 'tis] Rowe ii. shin, fo 
tis Qq. skin, fo: 'tis Ff (skin/o F,). 

9. Thou'dst] thoud'fl Q t . thou 
would/l Q 9 . 

Scene IV.] Coleridge : O, what a world's convention of agonies is here ! All 
external nature in a storm, all moral nature convulsed, — the real madness of Lear, 
the feigned madness of Edgar, the babbling of the Fool, the desperate fidelity of 
Kent, — surely such a scene was never conceived, before or since ! Take it but as a 
picture for the eye only, it is more terrific than any which a Michael Angelo, inspired 
by a Dante, could have conceived, and which none but a Michael Angelo could have 
executed. Or let it have been uttered to the blind, the howlings of nature would 
seem converted into the voice of conscious humanity. This scene ends with the first 
symptoms of positive derangement ; and the intervention of the fifth scene is particu- 
larly judicious, — the interruption allowing an interval for Lear to appear in full mad- 
ness in the sixth scene. 

2. the open] Walker ( Vers. 75) suggests that the e in • the • be omitted before 
* open.' 

4. heart ?] Steevens : I believe that Lear does not address this question to Kent, 
but to his own bosom. Perhaps, therefore, we should point the passage thus : « Wilt 
break, my heart ? ' The tenderness of Kent, indeed, induces him to reply, as to an 
interrogation that seemed to reflect on his own humanity. 

act in, sc. iv.] 



But if thy flight lay toward the roaring sea 10 

Thou'dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind's free 

The body 's delicate; the tempest in my mind 

Doth from* my senses take all feeling else 

Save what beats there. Filial ingratitude ! 

Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand 1 5 

For lifting food to 't ? But I will punish home. 

No, I will weep no more. In such a night 

To shut me out ? Pour on ; I will endure. 

In such a night as this ? O Regan, Goneril ! 

Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, — 20 

Oh, that way madness lies ; let me shun that ; 

No more of that ! 

Kent. Good my lord, enter here. 

Lear. Prithee, go in thyself; seek thine own ease ; 
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder 
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in. — 25 

10. thy] they F t . 

lay] light F 4 , Rowe, Pope. 

roaring] raring Q f . raging Q^ 
Cap. Jen. Steer. Ec Var. Sing. Ktly, 
Glo.+, Mob. 

11. Thovtdst] 7noudyiQ{. 
mind's] minds F,F . 

12. body's'] Rowe. bodus QqFf. 
the] this Q,. 

14. beats] beares Q,. 

there. Filial ingratitude /]Rowe. 
there. Filial ingratitude, F 9 F 4 . their 
filiall ingratitude, Qq. there, Filiall 
ingratitude, F,F S . there : filial ingrati- 
tude. Del. Sch. there,— filial ingrati- 
tude/ Sing. ii. 

15. this hand] his hand F,F 4 , Rowe. 

16. tdt] toil Q4. 

I will] /VZPope+. 
home] fure Qq. 

17.18. In such., .endure ■„•] Om. Qq, 
ending the lines fure ;..Jhis t.. father... 

18.19. out t...thisf\ out /..Jhisf Cap. 
20. gave] gaue you Qq, Jen. MaL Bos. 


all,—] all— Rowe. all, QqFf. 

22. that J] that,— Sing, it 
enter here.] enter. Qq. 

23. thine own] thy one Q,. thy ownt 


12. delicate] Abbott, § 468 : Any unaccented syllable of a polysyllable (whether 
containing s or any other vowel) may sometimes be softened and almost ignored. 
Compare I, i, 90, 114, 122 ; or II, i, 124, &c. &c. 

14. Filial ingratitude] Delius : In apposition to * what beats there.' 

15. as] As if. See V, iii, 202, and Ham. I, ii, 217, with the instances there 
cited. But Abbott, § 107, says (hat • as ' is equivalent to as if only in appearance, 
that the if is implied in the subjunctive. See also Matzner, ii, 128, where it is said 
that, although the abridged sentence may be explained by the complete form, as if, 
Lat. quasi, yet we must not assume that a primitive if has been lost. 

25. would] As another instance of the omission of the relative, see I, iv, 58. 

1 84 


[act hi, sc. iv 


In, boy ; go first — You houseless poverty, — 26 

Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep. — 

*""""" [Fool goes in. 

Poor naked wretches, wheresoever you are, 
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, 
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, 30 

Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you 
From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta'en 
Too little care of this ! Take physic, pomp ; 
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, 
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them 35 

And show the heavens more just 

Edg. \WitMn^\ Fathom and half, fathom and halfl 
Poor Tom 1 [The Fool runs out from tJu hovel. 

26. [To the Fool Johns. 
26, 27. Om. Qq. 

26. poverty, — ] poverty— Rowe. pou» 
*rtie,Y x . poverty, F,F,F 4 . 

27. [Fool goes in. J Johns. Exit, 
(after line 26), Ff. Om. Qq. Exit 
Fool, (after line 26), Rowe. Exit Fool, 
(after in, line 27), Cap. 

29. storm] night Qq. Jen. 
31. loofd] Pope. loopt Qq. lofd 
Ff, Rowe. looped Sch. 

window'd] windowed Qq. 

32. ta'en] tone QqFf. 

36. [Enter Edgar, and Foole. Ff. 
Enter Edgar disguised like a Madman 
and Fool. Rowe+. 

37. Scene vi. Pope. 
37,38. Om.Qq. 

37. Edg. [Within] Theob. Edg. Ff. 
Fathom] Ff. f adorn Wh. 

38. The Fool...hovel.] Theob. after 
line 40. Transferred by Cap. Om. 

26. first] Johnson : This injunction represents that humility, or tenderness, or 
neglect of forms, which affliction forces on the mind. 

31. loop'd] Schmidt: 'Loop 9 in Sh. docs not mean a loop-hole, but simply a 
hole, an opening. 

32. 33. O . . . this !] Vehse (i, 292) finds in these words the key to the tragedy. 

33. Take, &c] Jacox (Colburn's New Monthly Mag., 1 July, 1867) has gathered ah 
entertaining collection of passages, parallel to this, from English and French literature. 

34. Walker (Crit. i, 292) cites this line with a « Qu.' because of the repetition 
of the word « feci.' But Dyce sees no reason for supposing it to be corrupt. 

35. superflux] Schmidt : A hapax legomenon in Sh. 

37. Coleridge : Edgar's assumed madness serves the great purpose of taking off 
part of the shock which would otherwise be caused by the true madness of Lear, 
and further displays the profound difference between the two. In every attempt at 
representing madness throughout the whole range of dramatic literature, with the 
single exception of Lear, it is mere lightheadedness, as especially in Otway. In 
Edgar's ravings, Sh. all the whjle lets you see a fixed purpose, a practical end in 
view ; — in Lear's there is only the brooding of the one anguish, an eddy without 

37. fathom and half] Capell : These words allude to his being bury'd in straw. 




Fool. Come not in here, nuncle, here 's a spirit Help 
me, help me ! 40 

Kent. Give me thy hand. — Who's there ? 

Fool. A spirit, a spirit ; he says his name's poor Tom. 

Kent What art thou that dost grumble there i' th' straw ? 
Come forth. 

&ntcr Edgar disguised as a madman. 

Edg. Away! the foul fiend follows met Through the 45 
sharp hawthorn blow the winds. Hum I go to thy bed 
and warm thee. 

39, 40. Prose, QqFf. Verse, the first 
line ending spirit, Johns. Mai. Knt. 

41. Who's there?] whofe there. Q,. 

42. A spirit, a spirit j] A fpirit Qq. 
name's'] nam's Q s . name is Q,. 

43, 44. Prose, QqFf. Verse, dividing 
at straw t Johns. Cap. Steev. Ec. Bos. 
Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. Ktly, Sch. 

43. V th'] intheQq. 

44. forth.] forth t Q 9 . 

Enter.. .madman.] Theob. Om. 

45. Scene vi. Han. Warb. Johns. Jen. 
45~47« Prose, QqFf. Verse, ending 

me !... wind. ..thee. Johns. Cap. Steev. 

Ec. Var. Coll. Del. Sing. Dyce i, Wh. 
Ktly, Glo. Huds. Wr. 

45. Through] thorough Q f . 

45, 46. Through.. .wind.] As a quota* 
tion, Sta. Dyce ii, Cam. 

46. hawthorn] hathome Qq. Han* 
thorne F t F,. Hauthom F $ . 

blow the winds] Ff, Rowe, Knt, 
Del, Sch. blowes the cold wind Qq et 

Humf] Dyce, Sta. Glo.+, Mob. 
Sch. Humh, Ff. Om. Qq. Humph, 
Rowe et cet. 

bed] Ff+, Knt, Del. Sch. cold 
bed Qq et cet. 

Steevens : He gives the sign used by those who are sounding the depth at sea. 
Collier doubts if Steevens's explanation be correct. 

45,46. Through . • • winds] Capell: This has the air of a quotation from 
some lost poem. Schmidt: The majority of editors prefer the reading of the Qq 
because it is more like line 95, and like a line in The Friar of Orders Gray: « See 
through the hawthorn blows the cold wind, and drizzly rain doth fall.' For a similar 
reason they adopt < go to thy cold bed and warm thee.' 

47. thee] This phrase occurs again in the fnd. to Tarn, the Shr. y and in a note 
on it there Theobald thinks that, because there is just before it a clear allusion to 
a phrase in Kyd's Spanish Tragedy, this must also be ' a Banter upon another verse 
in that play,' viz : ' What outcries pluck me from my naked bed ?' But Capell is 
probably right in thinking this latter allusion more than doubtful, for, as STAUNTON 
says, * to an audience of Shakespeare's age there was nothing risible ' either in this 
phrase in Lear or in The Spanish Tragedy. • The phrase,' continues Staunton, ' " to 
go to a cold bed " meant only to go cold to bed ; " to rise from a naked bed " sig- 
nified to get up naked from bed, and to say one " lay on a sick bed " (a form of 
expression far from uncommon even now) implied merely that he was lying sick 
a-bed.' Delius in his first edition conjectured that the omission of ' cold ' in the Ff 
was due to Shakespeare's having struck it out in order to avoid the comic effect which 
it produced* This conjecture was not repeated in his second edition. But Dyce, 
commenting on it, says that Sh. « has studiously made the assumed madness of Edgar 



Tact hi, sc. iv. 


Lear. Didst thou give all to thy daughters? and art 
thou come to this? 

Edg. Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the 
foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through 
ford and whirlpool, o'er bog and quagmire ; that hath laid 
knives under his pillow and halters in his pew; set rats- 



48,49. Prose, QqFf. Verse, Steev.'78, 
Coll. Del. Ktly. 

48. Didst. ..thy] Ff+, Cap. Ec. Knt, 
Del. Dyce, Sch. Didst thou give nil to 
thy two Sing. Wh. Coll. ill. Haft thou 
fiuen all to thy two Qq et cet. 
thou] thou too Ktly. 
daughters] Daughters F 4 . 
5*. through fire] though Fire F f . 
through flame,] Om. Qq. 
through ford] throgh foord Q,. 

$2. ford] foord Qq. Sword Ff, 
Rowe. swamp Coll. (MS), swara 
Anon.* flood Anon.* 

whirlpool] whirli-poole Qq. 
Whirle Poole F,F,F . whirlepoole F 4 . 
through whirlpool Johns, whirlipooi 
Glo. Wr. Mob. 

hath] has Qq. 
53. pew] Pope ii. pue QqFf. 

ratsbane] Rate-bane F,. 

somewhat akin to the comic, that it might contrast the better with the real insanity 
of Lear/ Cowden Clarke thinks that the marked frequency of the word « cold* 
during this scene was probably intentional, in order to sustain the impression of the 
inclemency of the season. 

53. knives under his pillow] To Theobald is due the credit of discovering 
that here, and throughout Edgar's feigned madness, allusions are made to Harsnct's 
Declaration, &c. Thus : « While the Spaniards were preparing their Armado against 
England, the Jesuits were here busily at work to promote the success by making con- 
verts. One method they used, to do this, was to dispossess pretended demoniacks of 
their own church ; by which artifice they made several hundred converts among the 
common people, and grew so elate upon their success as to publish an account of 
their exploits in this wonderful talent of exorcising. A main scene of their business, 
in this seeming-holy discipline, lay in the family of one Mr. Edmund Peckham ; 
where Marwood, a servant of Antony Babington's, Tray ford, an attendant upon Mr. 
Peckham, and Sarah and Friswood Williams, and Anne Smith (three chambermaids 
in that family), were supposed to be possessed by devils, and came under the hands 
of the priests for their cure. The parties either so little liked the discipline, or the 
Jesuits behaved with such ill address, that the consequence was, the imposture was 
discovered; the demoniacs were examined; and their confessions taken upon oath 
before the Privy Council. The whole matter being blown up, the criminals brought 
to the stake, and the trick of Devil-hunting brought into ridicule, Dr. Harsnet (who 
was chaplain to Archbishop Bancroft, and himself afterwards Archbishop of York) 
wrote a smart narrative of this whole proceeding under the following title: "A 
Declaration of egregious Popish Impostures, to withdraw the harts of her Majesties 
Subjects from their allegeance, and from the truth of Christian Religion professed in 
England, under the pretence of casting out devils. Practised by Edmunds, alias 
Weston a Jesuit, and divers Romish priests his wicked associates. Whereunto are 
annexed the Copies of the Confessions, and Examinations of the parties themselves, 
which were pretended to be possessed, and dispossessed, taken upon oath before hei 
Majesties Commissioners for causes Ecclesiasticall. At London Printed by James 

act in. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 1 8 J 

bane by his porridge ; made him proud of heart, to ride on 
a bay trotting-horse over four-inched bridges, to course his 55 
/ own shadow for a traitor. Bles§ thy five wits! Tom's 
a-colA O, do, de, do, dc, do, de. Bless thee from whirl- 

54. porridge] Porredge Ff. pottage FJF ., Rowe. 

Qq. $o t 57- £l*s\ bUJfe Qq. BUJfe F, 

55. trotting-horse] Stecv. trotting F,F,. Blifs F 4 . 

&°r/e QqFf. 57. O do,] Ff+,Cap. Jen. Om. 

four-inched] Cap. foure incht Qq. O, do de, do de, do de. Johns, et 
QqF t . foure archt F a . four arch'd cet. 

Roberts, dwelling in Barbican 1603." . . . The greatest part of Edgar's dissembled 
lunacy, the names of his devils, and the descriptive circumstances he alludes to in 
his own case, are all drawn from this pamphlet, and the confessions of the poor 
deluded wretches.' In this mention of ' knives ' and * halters ' there seems to be an 
allusion to the following passage from Harsnet (which is here given as printed by 
Staunton) : ' This examinant further saith, that one Alexander an apothecarie, 
having brought with him from London to Denham on a time a new halter, and two 
blades of knives, did leave the same upon the gallerie floare in her Maister*s house. 
The next morning he tooke occasion to goe with this examinant into the said gal- 
lerie, where she espying the said halter and blades, asked Ma: Alexander what 
they did there: Hee making the matter strange, aunswered, that he saw them not, 
though hee looked fully upon them : she her sclfe pointing to them with her finger, 
where they lay within a yard of them, where they stoode both together. Now (quoth 
this examinant) doe you not see them ? and so taking them up, said, looke you heere : 
Ah (quoth hee) now I see them indeed, but before I could not see them : And there- 
fore saith he, I perceave that the devil hath layd them heere, to workc some mischicfe 
upon you, that are possessed. Hereupon . . . a great search was made in the house, 
to know how the said halter and knife blades came thether : but it could not in any 
wise be found out, as it was pretended, till Ma : Mainy in his next fit said, as it was 
reported, that the devil layd them in the Gallery, that some of those who were pos- 
sessed, might either hang themselves with the halter, or kil themselves with the 
blades.' — Examination of Fruwood Williams, p. 219. 

53. pew] Delius suggests that this is to indicate that not even the most sacred 
places were exempt from the temptation to commit suicide. 

56. five wits] Johnson (note on Much Ado, I, i, 66) : ' The wits seem to have 
been reckoned five, by analogy of the five senses, or the five inlets, of ideas.' In a 
note on Twelfth Night, IV, ii, 92, Malone quotes from Stephen Hawes's poem 
called Craunde Amoure, 1554, to show that the 'five wits' were: 'common wit, 
imaginaiion, fantasy, estimation, and memory.' That the five wits were confounded 
with the five senses, Collier shows by a quotation from ' the interlude of The IVorlde 
end the Chylde, printed by Wynkyn de Wordc in 1 522, and introduced into vol. xii, 
p. 334, of Dodsley's Old Plays : " Age. Of the .v. wittes I wolde have knowynge. 
Perseuerance. Forsoth, syr, herynge, seynge, and smeilynge, The remenaunte 
tastynge, and fclynge : These ben the .v. wittes bodely." ' Malone 2 Sh., however, 
in his 141st Sonnet, considered the 'five wits ' as distinct from the five senses, 

57. a-cold] Abbott, § 24: That is, ' *-kale,' E. E. • in a chill.' [See II, ii, 69.] 
57. do, de] Eccles : This seems intended to express the sound uttered by per* 

1 88 KING LEAR [act hi, sc iv 

winds, star-blasting, and taking 1 Do poor Tom some 58 
charity, whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I have him 
now, and there, and there again, and there. [Storm still. 60 

Lear. What, have his daughters brought him to this 
Couldst thou save nothing ? Wouldst thou give 'em all ? 

Fool. Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all 

Lear. Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air 65 

Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters 1 

Kent. He hath no daughters, sir. 

Lear. Death, traitor 1 nothing could have subdued nature 
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters. 
Is it the fashion that discarded fathers 70 

Should have thus little mercy on their flesh? 
Judicious punishment 1 'twas this flesh begot 

58. star-blasting] Jlarre-blujling Qq. 6a. WouldsL.Jem] Ff, Rowe, Wh. 

60. there again] here again F,+. Sch. Didst...! em Pope+, Jen. Sta. 
and there.] Om. Qq. Dyce ii. Wbuldst..Jhem Knt. Didjl... 
[Storm still.] Om. Qq. them Qq et cet. 

61. What, have his] Theob. What, 64. shamed] ashamed Ktly. 
his Qq. Ka's his F t . Has his F,F $ , 66. light] fall Qq. 

Ktly. Have his F 4 , Rowe, Pope, Knt. 72, 73. begot.... daughters.] One line, 

pass] aje F 4 . Qq. 

tons who shiver with extreme cold, [Cotgrave gives : ' Fritter. To shiuer, chatter, 
Or didder for cold.' — Ed.] 

58. taking] See II, iv, 160. 

65, 66. Boswell: Compare Timon, IV, iii, 1 08-1 10 : « Be as a planetary plague, 
when Jove Will o'er some high- viced city hang his poison In the sick air.' Schmidt : 
In The Birth of Merlin, which has been attributed to Sh., we find : ' knowest thou 
what pendulous mischief roofs thy head ?' 

69. unkind] Walker (Crit. i, 87) calls attention to the accent * unkind.' 

71. flesh] Delius refers this to the sticking of pins in the mortified bare arms, 
Clarke to the exposure of poor Tom's body to the storm. In Edwin Booth's 
Prompt Book there is the following stage-direction : ' Draws a thorn, or wooden 
Spike, from Edgar's arm, and tries to thrust it into his own.' After line 73 : ' Edgar 
seizes Lear's hand and takes away the thorn.' 

72. Judicious] Walker {Crit. i, 64) cites this word, which he says is here used 
for judicial, among other instances of an • inaccurate use of words in Sh., some of 
them owing to his imperfect scholarship (imperfect, I say, for he was not an ignorant 
man even on this point), and others common to him with his contemporaries.' See 
• eternal,' Ham. I, v, 21. 

72. punishment] Walker ( Vers, 66) and Abbott, § 467i cite this as a dissylla- 
ble here. 

ACT III, SC. iv.] 




Those pelican daughters. 73 

Edg. Pillicock sat on Pillicock-kill, 
Alow : alow, loo, loo ! 75 

Fool. This cold night will turn us all to fools and 

Edg. Take heed o' th' foul fiend; obey thy parents; 
keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with man's 
sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud array. 80 
Tom's a-cold. 

73. daughters] Daughter F a . 

74, 75. Pillicock.. .loo !] As in Johns. 
One line, QqFf. 

74. Pillicock-bili] Hyphen, Rowe. 
pclicocks hill Qq. pelicactis hill Q 3 . 
Pillicocks-hill Mai. Steev. Bos. Sing. 

75. A low... loo f\alolo fa. Qq. Haloo, 
loo, loo. Cap. Halloo, halloo, loo, loo t 
Theob ii. 

78. o'th'loth'FJFJFf at'hQ,. of 
the Q 2 , Cap. 

7$. 'word justly] Pope, words iuftly 
Qq. words Iujlice T x . word, jujlict 
F a F 3 F 4 . word, do justice Rowe. word's 
justice Knt, Del. i. iwrds % justice Sch, 

So. set not\/et on F 3 F 4 . 

sweet hcar£\fivcet-kcart Ff, Rowe, 
Pope, Theob. i. sweetheart Sing. 

73. pelican] See Ham. IV, v, 142. Wright : See Batman vpfon Barthclome 
(ed. 15S2), fol. xS6 b\ 'The Pellican loueth too much her children. For when the 
children bee haught, and begin to waxe hoare, they smite the father and the mother 
in the face, wherfore the mother smitcth them againe and slaieth them. And the 
thirde daye the mother smiteth her selfc in her side that the bloud runneth out, and 
sheddeth that hot bloud vppon the bodies of her children. And by virtue of the 
bloud the birdes that were before dead, quicken againe. 9 

74. Pillicock] Capell : This was suggested by the word * pelican.* Collier : It 
is thus mentioned in Ritson's Gammer Cur ton's Garland: — « Pillycock, Pillycock 
sat on a hill; If he's not gone, he sits there still.' Dyce (Gloss.) 2 Frequently used 
as a term of endearment. Florio gives : 'Pinchinv, a primc-cockc, a pillicockc, a 
darlin, a beloued lad.' Cotgrave has : ' Turelureau, Mon tur. My pillicockc, my 
prettie knaue.' But it had another meaning; see Florio in Piuiolo, or Puga. [It is 
not unlikely that the next line was meant to imitate the crowing of a cock. I see no 
reason why in nondescript words we should desert the spelling of the original texts, 
and change ' alow' into Halloo. In such words it is more likely than not that the 
compositors ' followed copy.' — Ed.] 

79. word justly] Schmidt suggests, as the meaning of the Ff, ' be as just in 
deeds as in words.' 

79. commit] Malone (Note on Oth. IV, ii, 72) : This word in Shakespeare's 
time, besides its general signification, seems to have been applied particularly to un- 
lawful acts of love. 

So. set] Schmidt : ' Set/ when followed by ' on,' is equivalent to incite, to make 
desirous of anything. 

81. a-cold] George Ross, M. D. (Studies, &c, p. 37) : Lear, the genuine lunatic* 
is insensible to cold, and complains of it only when reason returns; on the other 

190 KING LEAR [act ill. SC. iv. 

Lear. What hast thou been ? 82 

Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that 
curled my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of 
my mistress's heart and did the aft of darkness with her. &5 
Swore as many oaths as I spake words and broke them in 
the sweet face of heaven. One that slept in the contriving of 
lust and waked to do it Wine loved I deeply, dice dearly ; 

83. serving-man,] Seruingman?^ ',F ',. on the contriving Han. on the contriv- 
85. mistress's] Rowe ii. mijlris QqFf. ing of Cap. 

mistress' Jen. Dyce, Sta. Ktly, Glo. Cam. SS. deeply] deepdy Q,. deerefy FjF^ 

87. in...of] in the contriving Pope+. dearly F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Knt. 

hand, the mock madman makes his sensitiveness to external influences the constant 
burden of his lamentations. [< Tom's a-cold ' appears to have been the peculiar cry 
of Bedlam beggars at all seasons. See II, iii, 14. — Ed.] 

%$, serving-man] Knight : This is not a menial, but a servant in the sense in 
which it is used in Two Gent, II, iv, 106. Schmidt denies this, and affirms that, in 
jocose style, where the meaning can be clearly gathered from the context, a cavaliere 
servente is undoubtedly called a servant, but never a ' serving-man/ which here bears 
its ordinary meaning. 

84. curled my hair] Maloxe cites from Harsnet : * Then Ma. Mainy, by the in* 
stigation of the first of the scaven [spirits], began to set his hands unto his side, 
curled his hair, and used such gestures as Ma. Edmunds [the exorcist] presently 
affirmed that that spirit was Pride. Herewith he began to curse and banne, saying, 
What a poxc do I here ? I will stay no longer amongst a company of rascal priests, 
but goe to the court, and brave it amongst my fellows, the noblemen there assem- 
bled. . . . Shortly after they [the seven spirits] were all cast forth, and in such man- 
ner as Ma. Edmunds directed them, which was, that every devil should depart in 
some certaine forme representing cither a beast or some other creature, that had the 
resemblance of that sinnc whereof he was the chief author : whereupon the spirit 
of pride departed in the form of a peacock; the spirit of sloth in the likeness of an 
asse; the spirit of envie in the similitude of a dog; the spirit of gluttony in the 
forme of a zvolfe, and the other devils had also in their departure their particular 
likenesses agreeable to their natures.' RUSHTON (Euphuism, p. 47) cites from 
Euphucs, « Be not curious to curie thy haire,' &c. [This may, perhaps, refer to 
the Move-locks' that were worn by gallants in Shakespeare's day. — Ed.] 

84. gloves] Theobald thinks it but justice to mention an emendation which a 
learned gentleman suggested to him, viz. that we should read ' wore cloves in my 
cap/ alluding to the fashion then in vogue of quilting spices and perfumes into the 
linings of hats. Theobald, of course, dissents, and adds that it was « the custom to 
wear gloves in the hat upon three different motives : as the favour of a mistress ; in 
honour of some other respected friend ; or as a mark to be challcng'd by an adver- 
sary where a duel was impending.' Steevens : Portia, in her assumed character, 
asks Bassanio for his gloves, which she says she will wear for his sake ; and Henry 
V gives the pretended glove of Alcncon to Fluellcn, which afterwards occasions his 
quarrel with the English soldier. 

act tu, sc. ivj KING LEAR 191 

and in woman out-paramoured the Turk. False of heart, 
light of ear, bloody of hand ; hog in sloth, fox in stealth, 90 
wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey. Let not 
the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of silks betray thy 
poor heart to woman. Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy 
hand out of plackets, thy pen from lenders' books, and defy 

89. out-paramoured] out paromord rustlings Jen. 

Q,. 93. woman] women Qq, Jen. Steev. 

90. of hand] hand F 9 . handed? J? ^ Vac Sing. Ktly, Huds. 
Rowe. brothels] brotkell Qq, Jtn. 

91. prey] pray Q f . 94. plackets] placket Qq, Jeji. 

92. rustling] rujlngs Of ruflingsQ^ books] booke Qq, Jen. 

90. ear] Johnson: Credulous of evil, ready to receive malicious reports. 

90-91. hog • • • prey] Wright: Mr Skeat has pointed out to me that in the 
Ancren RiwU, p. 198, the seven deadly sins are typified by seven wild animals ; the 
lion being the type of pride, the serpent of envy, the unicorn of wrath, the bear of 
sloth, the fox of covetousness, the swine of greediness, and the scorpion of lust. 

94. plackets] When Steevens wished to treat an indelicate subject in an in* 
delicate way, yet with a show of learning, he not infrequently signed his notes Am- 
ner, the name of a guileless, dissenting clergyman settled not far from Steevens's 
home at Hampstead. There is such a note so signed on this word. Nares defines 

* placket ' as « a petticoat, generally an underpetticoat. • • • Bailey says it was the fore* 
part of the shift or petticoat, but it was neither. It is sometimes used for a female, 
the wearer of a placket, as petticoat now is.' Florio gives : * Torace, . • . also a 
placket or a stomacher, a brestplate or corselet for the body. 9 This led Singer and 
others to define it simply as ' a stomacher.' Dyce (Gloss.) has the following note: 

* Whether or not " placket " had originally an indelicate meaning is more than I can 
determine. It has been very variously explained : a petticoat, an underpetticoat,' a 
pocket attached to a petticoat, the slit or opening in a petticoat, and a stomacher; 
and it certainly was occasionally used to signify a female as petticoat is now. " The 
term placket is still in use in England and America for a petticoat, and, in some of 
the provinces for a shift, a slit in the petticoat, a pocket, &c." — HalliwelL " As to the 
word placket, in ' An exact Chronologic of memorable things ' in Wit's Interpreter, 3d 
ed. 167 1, it is said to be * sixty-six years since maids began to wear plackets.' Ac- 
cording to Middleton, the placket is ' the open part ' of a petticoat; and the word is 
not altogether obsolete, since the opening in the petticoats of the present day is still 
called * the placket hole,' in contradistinction to the pocket hole." — Ghapell's Pop- 
ular Music of the Olden Time, ii, 518.' The student who wishes to pursue the 
subject further will find a note on it by White on the present passage, and also 
on Love's Lab. Ill, i, 186. Schmidt (Lex.) gives the other instances of its use in 
Sh., and in addition see Marston's What You Will, III, i, p. 267, ed. Halliwell : 
' apple squiers, basket bearers, or pages of the placket.' Middleton's Roaring Ctrl, 
III, Hi, p. 497, ed. Dyce. Middleton's Any Thing for a Quiet Life, II, ii, p. 447, 
ed. Dyce: ' — the open part [of a petticoat] which is now called the placket. 
Franklin, fun. Why, was it ever called otherwise ? Geo, Yes ; while the word re- 
mained pure in his original, the Latin tongue, who have no K's, it was called the 



[ACT XII, sc. tv. 

I the foul fiend Still tlirough the hawthorn blows tfie cold 95 
wind. Says suum, mun, nonny. Dolphin my boy, boy, sessal 
let him trot by. [Storm still. 

95-97-] AsinQqFf. Three 
lines, Glo.+, Dyce ii. 

95, Still.. .nonny.] In Italics, Sta. 
the hawthorn] thy Hawthorn F. 

hawthorn] kathorne Qq. Hon- 
thorne F t F r 

96. Says....noimyJ Ff+ f Jen. Knt, 
Dyce. Sch. hay no on ny Qq- Hat 
nenni; Cap. Hey no nonny t — Ec. says 
suum, mun 9 ha no nonny Steev. et cet. 

Dolphin.. .by] Mai. (subs.) Dol- 

phin my Boy, Boy Seffey : let him tros 
by. Ff (Sefey F f , Knt), Rowe+, Jen. 
Knt. Dolphin my Soy, my toy, eeafe let 
him trot by. Qq (cae/e Q,), also Ec. Ktly 
(both in Italics, and in two lines; Ktly 
reads cess?), dolphin, my boy, my boy, 
sesse ; let him trot by. Cap. 

96. my boy, boy] Ff + , Sch* my boy, 
my boy Qq et cet 

trot by] trot my Y J? A . 

[Storm still.] Om. Qq. 

placet; a placendo, a thing or place to please.' Middleton's The Honest Whor* % 
Fart 2, V, ii, p. 241, ed. Dyce. Beau, and Fl.'s Love's Cure, I, ii, p. 1 16, ed. Dyce. 
Beau, and Fl.'s Humourous Lieutenant, IV, iv, p. 508, ed. Dyce. White well 
sums up the discussion ; • It is clear at least that the placket, in Shakespeare's timo 
and after, was an article of female apparel so secret as not to admit description, and 
so common as not to require it ; and that, consequently, the thing having passed out 
of use, the word stat nominis umbra* 

94. lenders' books] Steevens : So in Chapman's All Fools, 1605 : « If I but 
write my name in mercers' books, I am as sure to have at six months end A rascal 
at my elbow with his mace,' &c. 

96. suum, mun] Steevens : These words were probably added by the players, 
who, together with the compositors, were likely enough to corrupt what they did not 
understand, or to add more of their own to what they already concluded to be non- 
sense. [Sec Knight's interpretation, in the next note. For ' nonny,' see Ham. 
IV, v, 161.] 

96, 97. Dolphin • . • by] Capell supposes that Edgar ' feigns himself one who 
is surveying his horses, and marking their paces ; that his ' boy ' whom he calls 
' dolphin ' (or dauphin) is about to stop one of them, and cries out to that boy in 
wild language: « Hat no, leave to do it; let him trot, by:* if any one, upon the 
score of this dolphin, will say — he feigns himself Neptune, he shall not be oppos'd 
in it.' Johnson : Of interpreting this there is not much hope or much need. But 
anything may be tried. The madman, now counterfeiting a proud fit, supposes him- 
self met on the road by some one that disputes the way, and cries ' Hey ! — No — ' 
but altering his mind condescends to let him pass, and calls to his boy Dolphin 
(Rodolph) not to contend with him. *On — Dolphin, my boy, cease. Let him 
trot by.' Steevens gives the following stanza : « Dolphin, my boy, my boy, Cedtse, 
let him trot by ; It seemeth not that such a foe From me or you would fly,' and adds 
that it is from « a very old ballad written on some battle fought in France, during 
which the King, unwilling to put the suspected valour of his son the Dauphin — 1. e. 
Dolphin (so called and spelt at those times) to the trial, is represented as desirous to 
restrain him from any attempt to establish an opinion of his courage on an adversary 
who wears the least appearance of strength ; and at last assists in propping up a dead 
body against a tree for him to try his manhood upon. Therefore, as different cham- 



1 93 

Lear. Thou wert better in thy grave than to answer 98 
with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies. Is 
man no more than this ? Consider him well. Thou owest 100 
the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the 
cat no perfume. Ha? here's three on's are sophisticated. 
Thou art the thing itself; unaccommodated man is no more 
but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art Off off, 
you lendings 1 come, unbutton here. 10? 

98. Thou] Ff+, Cap. Sch. Why % 
thou Qq et cet. 

wert] were Sing. Sta. 
thy grave] a Grant Ff, Rowe, 
Pope, Han. Knt, Sch. 

98-105. Thou.. .here] Nine lines, end- 
ing answer. .skies... well :...hide % ...Ha /... 
art.. . is t ... animal. Ktly. 
100. than] but Qq, Jen. 

more. ..Consider] more, but this 
cdfider Q,. 

102. Hat] Ora. Qq. 

here's] her*s Q,. he*rs Q,. 

on*s] ons Q,F a . ones Q,. of us 
Pope+, Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Del. 

sophisticated] fo phijlicated Q,. 
105. lendings] leadings Q a . 

come % unbutton here,] come on 
Qj. come on be true. Q,. 

[Tearing off his clothes. Rowe. 
Tearing...; Kent and the Fool strive to 
hinder him. Cap. 

pions are supposed to cross the field, the King always discovers some objection to 
his attacking each of them, and repeats these two lines as every fresh personage is 
introduced. The song I have never seen, but had this account from an old gentle- 
man, who was only able to repeat part of it, and died before I could have supposed 
the discovery would have been of the least importance to me.' [It may perhaps be 
well to remember that Steevens's ' black-letter volumes • of unknown titles and dates, 
together with his ' ballads ' rehearsed from memory, are to be received with cau- 
tion. — Ed.] Farmer cites : ' Od's my life ! I am not allied to the sculler yet; he 
shall be Dauphin my boy.' — Jonson's Bartholomew Fair [V, iii, p. 522, ed. Gifford, 
where Gifford says, ' Dauphin my boy, is the burden of a ridiculous old song, of 
which mention is made by Steevens in King Lear! Note that Gifford was too cau- 
tious to allude to the interesting little history that Steevens gives of the ballad. — 
Ed.] Knight : We are inclined to think, if there be any meaning, some of the 
words are meant as an imitation of the sound of the rushing wind, and that ' let him 
go by ' has the same reference. 

96. sessa !] Malone : I have printed * Sessa,' because the same cant word oc- 
curs in the Induction to Tarn, the Sh. Johnson (note on III, vi, 72) : This I take 
to be the French word cessex, pronounced cessey, which was, I suppose, like some 
other of common use among us. It is an interjection enforcing cessation of any 
action, like, be quiet, have done. Collier : It may be doubted whether it be not a 
mere interjection. 

98. thou wert] See I, iv, 93. 

102. cat] That is, the civet-cat. 

102. sophisticated] Schmidt : Not elsewhere in Sh. 

103. unaccommodated] Wright: That is, unfurnished with what is necessary, 

especially with dress. Compare IV, vi, 81, where Edgar says, after seeing Lear 

• fantastically dressed with wild flowers/ 'The safer sense will ne'er accommodate 
17 N 

194 KING LEAR [act hi, sc. iv. 

Fool. Prithee, nuncle, be contented ; 'tis a naughty night 106 
to swim in. Now a little fire in a wide field were like an 
old lecher's heart, a small spark, all the rest on's body cold. 
Look, here comes a walking fire. 

Edg. This is the foul Flibbertigibbet; he begins at no 
curfew and walks at first cock; he gives the web and 

106. Prithee] PritheQ t . PrytheeY x . et cet. 

Prethee F,F,F 4 . 1 10. Flibbertigibbet] fliberdegibek Q t . 

contented] content Qq, Jen. Sirberdegibit Q,. 

107. wide] Jen. Walker. tw&VQ,F 1 F,. in. at] Ff, Rowe, Sch. till the Qq 
trild Q,F,F 4 et cet. et cet, 

108. ail] and all Q 3 , Rowe+. gives] gins Q,. 

on 's] in Qq. o/'s Cap. 0/ his III, 112. and the pin, squints] Ff. 

Steev. Ec. Var. Knt. 6* the pin,fquemes Q t . the pinqueuer 

HO. foul] Ff+ f Sch. foul fi end Qq Q t . the pinquever Q s . 

His master thus.' In Shakespeare's time the word ' accommodate ' had begun to be 
abused. See 2 Hen. IV; III, ii, 72, &c. From the word ' tendings/ which occurs 
here, it would seem that ' accommodate ' had even then acquired the modern sense 
of ' to furnish with money. 9 

105. unbutton here] It has been suggested to me by an eminent novelist and 
dramatist in London, that these words are properly a stage-direction. — Ed. 

107. wide] Jennrns first suggested this change, on the ground that ' " wide " is 
better opposed to " little ; " ' it was confirmed, as I think, by Walker (Crit. iii, 279), 
who says that ' wild is in the manner of modern, not Elizabethan poetry/ and he gives 
instances, not alone from Sh., but from contemporary authors, where the same mis- 
print of wild for ' wide • occurs. 

109. here comes] Although this evidently refers to Gloucester with his torch, 
yet I think it somewhat premature to mark Gloucester's entrance here as the Cam. 
editors, following the Qq,have done. In the Qq, if they were printed from an acting 
copy, the stage-directions are rather directions to the actors to be ready to go on 
than indications of their actual entrance. It is not easy to conceive, in the restricted 
space of the Shakespearian stage, how Gloucester could have remained unnoticed 
by Lear throughout Edgar's speech from line 109 to 119. — Ed. 

1 10. Flibbertigibbet] Steevens: This fiend is mentioned by Latimer in his 
sermons ['And when these flatterers, and flybbergybes an other daye shall come and 
clawe you by the backe and say/ — Second Sermon, 1549, p. 69, ed. Arber. — Ed.], 
and Heywood, in his Proverbs and Epigrams, has the following : « Thou Flebergibet, 
Flebergibet, thou wretch ! ' Percy : ' Frateretto, Fleberdigibet, Hoberdidance, 
Tocobatto, were four deuils of the round, or Morrice, whom Sara in her fits, tuned 
together, in measure and sweet cadence/ — Harsnet, p. 49. Cotgrave: Coquette; 
f. A pratling, or proud gossip ; a fisking, or fliperous minx, a cocket, or tatling hous- 
wife j a titifill, a flebergebit. Bell (S/i. Puck, &c. iii, 104) gives a fanciful deriva- 
tion of this word, which, he says, is GalgenmUnnchen personified. 

in. walks at first cock] Schmidt: Not unfrequently in Sh. 'to walk' is 
equivalent to go away. Thus in Cym. I, i, 176: ' Queen. Pray, walk awhile. Im- 
ogen. About some half-hour hence, I pray you, speak with me • • . for this time 

act in, sc. iv.] KING LEAR 1 95 

the pin, squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews 112 
the white wheat and hurts the poor creature of earth. 

Swithold footed thrice the old ; 

112. hare-lip] Jfare-tippeF^. Hair- 1 14. Swithold] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Knt, 
Zr>F 4 ,Rowe, Pope, Theob.Warb. Johns. Del. Dyce, Sen. fwiihald Qq. St. 
Ten. . hare lip Q t . hart lip Q,. Withold Theob. i. S. Withold Glo. Wr. 

113. creature] creatures Han. Saint Withold Theob. ii et cet. 
earth] the earth F 3 F 4 + Jen.Ec. old] Q t , Ff, Rowe, Pope, Knt, 

114-118. Swithold...aroint thee /] As Dyce, Glo. Wr. Sch. olde Q;. 'old 
by Cap. Four lines, Ff. Prose, Qq. Cam. wold Theob. et cet. 

leave mc.' That to walk is used technically of spirits does not interfere with the 
present modified meaning. See IV, vii, &$. [For the effect of the cock-crow upon 
' extravagant and erring spirits,' see Ham. I, i, 1 50.] 

112. web and pin] Malone : See Florio, who gives 'Cateratta. Also a disease in 
the eies called a pin and a web.' [Thus, in the edition of 1598.] Wright gives as 
Florio's definition, ' A purculleis. . . . Also a dimnesse of sight occasioned byhumores 
hardned in the eies called a Cataract or a pin and a web.' 

'ii 4-1 18. Swithold ... thee !] Warburton: We should read it thus: Saint 
Withold footed thrice the wold, He met the night-mare, and her name told, Bid her 
alight, and her troth plight, And aroynt thee, witch, aroynt thee right; i.e. Saint 
Withold, traversing the wold or downs, met the night-mare; who, having told her 
name, he obliged her to alight from those persons whom she rides, and plight her 
troth to do no more mischief. This is taken from a story of him in his legend. 
Hence he was invoked as the patron saint against that distemper. And these verses 
were no other than a popular charm, or night-spell against the Epialtes. The last 
line is the formal execration, or apostrophe of the speaker, of the charm to the witch, 
aroynt thee right, i. e. depart forthwith. Bedlams, gipsies, and such-like vagabonds, 
used to sell these kinds of spells or charms to the people. They were of various 
kinds for various disorders, and addressed to various saints. We have another of 
them in B. and Fl.'s Monsieur Thomas t IV, vi, which is expressly called a night-spelt, 
as follows : ' St George, St. George, our Lady's knight, He walks by day, so does he 
by night} And when he had her found, He her beat, and her bound, Until to him 
her troth she plight, She would not stir from him that night' This, says STEEVENS, 
is likewise one of the 'magical cures' for the incubus, quoted, with little variation, 
by Reginald Scott in his Discovery of Witchcraft, 1584. Theobald : My ingenious 
friend Mr Bishop saw that ' old ' must be wold, which signifies a down, or champion 
ground, hilly and void of wood. And as to St Withold, we find him again men* 
tioned in our author's Troublesome Raigne of King John [p. 256, ed. Nichols] x 
• Sweet S. Withold of thy lenitie, defend us from extremitie.' Tyrwhitt : I cannot 
find this adventure in the common legends of St. Vitalis, who, I suppose, is here 
called * St. Withold.' Farmer : Olds is the same word as wolds. Spelman writes, 
Burton upon olds ; the provincial pronunciation is still the oles, and that, being the 
vulgar orthography, may be the correct one here. In a book called The Actor, 
ascribed to Dr Hill, it is quoted 'the cold' ['the reading of Tate's version.'— 
Steevens]. Mr Colman < has it, in his alteration of Lear, 'the world.* [To thii 
note Colman replied that world in his edition was an error of the press.] 



[act in, sc. iv. 

He met the night-mare and her nine-fold ; 

Bid her alight, 

And her troth plight, 
And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee ! 

Kent. How fares your grace ? 


Enter Gloucester, with a torch. 

Lear. What's he? 

Kent. Who 's there ? What is 't you seek ? 

Glou. What are you there ? Your names ? 

Edg. Poor Tom, that eats the swimming frog, the toad, 


115. He met the nightmare] he met 
the night mare Q t . anelthu night Moore 
Q t . anelthunight Moor Q y 

nine-fold] ninefold F 9 F % F 4 . nine 
fold Qq. name told Warb. Johns. Jen. 

116. her alight] her a- light Ff. her, 
O light Qq. 

117. troth plight] troth-plight Ff. 

118. aroint, ..aroint] aroynt....aroynt 
Ff. arint...arint Qq. 

118. thee, witch,] thee, witch Q l . 
thee Witch F g F a . the witch, F 3 F 4 . thee, 

thee I] thee right. Warb. 

Enter... torch.] Ff, after line 10*5. 
Transferred by Pope. Enter Glolter. 
Qq (Glocefler. Q,), after line 109. Af- 
ter line 109, Cap. Glo.+. 

120. Scene vii. Pope +, Jen. 

121. Who's] Whofe<%\. 

115. nine-fold] Capell: That is, her nine imps, or familiars. Tyrwhitt: Put, 
for the sake of rhyme, instead of nine foals. 

118. aroint] See Macb. I, iil, 6, and notes. Since those derivations, all of them 
unsatisfactory, were there collected, another, which unfortunately must be placed in 
the same category, has been contributed by F. J. V. in Notes and Qu., 15 March, 
1873. He proposes the French ireinte-toi; that is, 'break thy back or reins, used 
as an imprecation.' In the notes on Macb. credit is not given, as it 6hould have 
been, to Capell for the derivation in his Glossary; 'Avauntl Hell take thee! 
Lat. Dii te averruncent 1 ' Nares cites it, without giving its author, and to Nares 
it has been frequently attributed. The following derivation, which seems highly 
probable, appeared in The Academy, 28 Dec. 1878: Mr F. D. Matthew, of the 
New Shakespeare Society's Committee, who is editing the unprinted English Works 
of Wiclif for the Early English Text Soc, has come across two instances of what 
must surely be Shakespeare's aroint — the verb arunte, avoid — in a Wycliffite tract 
in the MS C. v. 6, Trinity Coll., Dublin, lately lent to him by the College: " And 
her* sculd men aru/it feynt penytauosers, confessours and o)>er prsstis pat assoylen 
for money" (Leaf 157, back). "And her/ schul men arunte J>e feend J>at stirifr 
men to last \n J>is erroure" (Leaf 159, back). "I think," says Mr Matthew, 
" there is no doubt that « arunte,' which here evidently means * avoid or shun/ is 
the 'aroint* of Macb. I, iii, 6, and Lear, III, iv, 118, which has hitherto not been 
met with out of Sh." The change from u to oi is not •asy, but has surely taken 
place here.' 

ACT III. SC. iv.] 



the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water ; that in the fury 
of his heart, when the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for 125 
sallets ; swallows the old rat and the ditch-dog ; drinks the 
green mantle of the standing pool ; who is whipped from 
tithing to tithing, and stocked, punished, and imprisoned; 
who hath three suits to his back, six shirts to his body; 

Horse to ride and weapon to wear ; 
But mice and rats and such small deer 
Have been Tom's food for seven long year. 


124. tadpole] Johns, tod pole Q,. 
toade pold Q,. Tod-pole F,F a , Pope + , 
Scb. Tod-pool F F 4 . tod-pol Rowe. 

wall-newt] Q,. wall-Neut Ff. 
wall-wort Q, 

water] water-neut Rowe + » Cap. 
Jen. Ec. 

Jury] fruite Q,. 
126. sallets] sallads Jen. sallet Cap. 

128. stocked, punished] Jlockt, pun* 

ijk'd Ff. ./fttti/wtyft/Qq, Pope*, Cap. 
Jen. Glo.+, Dyce ii. 

129. hath] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Sch. 
hath had Qq et cet 

1 30. Horse.. .wear /] Verse, Ff, Rowe, 
Pope, Theob. Johns. Jen. Sch. Prose, 
Qq et cet. 

131. deer] Deare F f F t . Dear F,F 4 . 
geer Han. Warb. cheer Grey. 

132. Have] Hath Qq. 

124. tadpole] Wright: The modern spelling was in use in Shakespeare's time. 
Cotgrave gives : ' Gyrine : the frog teamed, a Tadpole. 9 

124. wall-newt] Wright: That is, lizard. 'Newt' is from A.S. efete, Early 
English euete, and then eft, the initial ' n ' having been acquired from the final letter 
of the article, so that 'an evet' or 'an eft' became ' a newt.' 

124. water] That is, the water-newt. For many similar constructions, see 
Schmidt (Lex.), p. 1419. 

126. sallets] Wright: Cotgrave: *Satade: f. A salade, Helmet, Head-peece; 
also a Sallet of hearbes.' It is still used in Sussex. See Ham. II, ii, 420. 

126. ditch-dog] Delius: The dead dogs thrown into ditches. 

128. tithing] Steevkns: A district; the same in the country as a ward in the 
city. In the Stat. 39 Eliz. ch. 4, it is enacted that every vagabond, &c shall be 
publickly whipped and sent from parish to parish. [For a description of the treat- 
ment of ' roges,' and of how they must be ' greeuouslie whipped and burned through 
the gristle of the right eare, with an hot iron of the compasse of an inch about,' see 
Harrison's Description of England, Bk. ii, chap, x, p. 219, ed. New Sh. Soc] 

129. hath three suits] Schmidt: The 'hath had three suits' of the Qq prob- 
ably accords with the fact, but what have facts to do with madness ? Tom hath three 
suits and six shirts; — where are they? who has taken them from him? 

131, 132. Capell: These are two lines of quotation (but not exact) from an old 
metrical romance of the Life of Sir Bevis : ' Rattes and myse and suche smal dere 
Was his meate that seven yere.' ' Dere,' says Malone, was used for ««im ? if in 
general. So Barclay in his Eclogues, 1570: 'Everie sorte of dere Shrunk under 
shadowes abating all their chere.' Schmidt: Not exactly animals in general, but 

17 • 

I98 KING LEAR [act hi, sc. iv. 

Beware my follower. — Peace, Smulkin! peace, thou fiend I 133 
Glou. What, hath your grace no better company ? 
Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman; Modo 135 

he's call'd, and Mahu. 

133. Smulkin] fnulbug Qq. Smol cet. As a quotation, Etyce ii. 

kin Thcob. Warb. Johns. Cap. Steev. Ec. 135. Modo] Mohu Johns. 

Var. Knt. 136. tes\ Changed to he is by Cap. 

135, 136. The. ...Mahu."] Prose, Qq in Errata. 

Ff+, Jen.Glo.+,Sch. Verse, Cap. et Mahu]Yi. mahu—Qq. 

133, 135, 136. Smulkin. . • . Modo • • . Mahu] Staunton : If the subjoined 
extracts from Harsnet's Declaration do not prove undisputably that Sh. was indebted 
to that popular book for the titles of Tom o' Bedlam's infernal spirits, we may infer 
that these fantastic names were quite familiar to an auditory of his time : ' It seemes 
not incongruent that I relate unto you the names of the devils whom in this glorious 
pageant they did dispossesse. . • . First, then, to marshall them in as good order as 
such disorderly cattell will be brought into, you are to understand, that there were in 
our possessed 5 Captaines, or Commaunders above the rest : Captaine Pippin, Mar- 
wood's devil, Captaine Philpot, Trayfords devil, Captaine Maho, Saras devil, Cap- 
taine Modu, Maynies devil, and Captaine Soforce, Anne Smiths devil. These were 
not all of equall authoritie, and place, but some had more, some fewer under theyr 
commaund. . . • The names of the punie spirits cast out of Trayford were these, 
Hilco, Smolkin, Hillio, Hiaclito, and Lustie huffe-cap : this last seemes some swag- 
gering punie devill, dropt out of a Tinkers budget. • • • Modo, Master Maynies devill, 
was a graund Commaunder, Muster-maister over the Captaines of the seaven deadly 
sinnes : Cliton, Bernon, Hilo, Motubizanto, and the rest, himselfe a Generall of a 
kind and curteous disposition : so saith Sara Williams, touching this devils acquaint- 
ance with Mistres Plater, and her sister Fid. Sara Williams had in her at a bare 
word, all the devils in hell. The Exorcist asks Maho, Saras devil, what company 
he had with him, and the devil makes no bones, but tels him in flat termes, all the 
devils in hell, . . . And if I misse not my markes, this Dictator Modu saith, hee had 
beene in Sara by the space of two yeeres, then so long hell was cleere, and had not 
a devill to cast at a mad dogge. And sooth I cannot much blame the devils for 
staying so long abroad e, they had taken up an Inne, much sweeter then hell : and an 
hostesse that wanted neither wit, nor mirth, to give them kind welcome. Heere, if 
you please, you may take a survay of the whole regiment of bell : at least the chiefe 
Leaders, and officers as we finde them enrolled by theyr names. First, Killico, Hob, 
and a third anonymos, are booked downe for three graund Commaunders, every one 
having under him 300 attendants. . . . Maho was generall Dictator of hell ; and yet 
for good manners sake, hee was contented of his good nature to make shew, that 
himselfe was under the check of Modu, the graund devil in Master Maynie. These 
were all in poor Sara at a chop, with these the poore soule travailed up and downe 
full two yeeres together; so as during these two yeeres, it had beene all one to say, 
one is gone to hell, or hee is gone to Sara Williams ; for shee poore wench had all 
hell in her belly.' — Cap. x, pp. 45, 50. 

*35> l 3&- The • • • Mahu] Reed: In The Goblins t hy Sir John Suckling, a catch 
is introduced which concludes with these two lines : ' The prince of darkness is a 

act in. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 1 99 

• Clou. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vilde 137 
That it doth hate what gets it 

Edg. Poor Tom f s a-col A 

Clou. Go in with me ; my duty cannot suffer 140 

T 9 obey in all your daughters' hard commands ; 
Though their injunction be to bar my doors 
And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you, 
Yet have I ventured to come seek you out 
And bring you where both fire and food is ready. 145 

Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher. — 
What is the cause of thunder? 

Kent. Good my lord, take his offer ; go into th' house. 

137, 138. Our..#ets it.] Verse, Pope. 140-145. Prose, Qq. 

Prose, QqFf, Rowe. 142. Though] Though alt Yf A . 

137. my Urd....vilde] is grown* fo 144. ventured] venter* d Qq. 

vild my Lord Qq {yiide QJ, Glo.+, 14$. fire and food] food and fire Q<\. 

Mob. is] are Han. Coll. iii. 

138. gets if] it gets F,F 4 ; Rowe. £48. Good.. Muse.] Two lines, Ff. 

139. Poor] Om. Pope+. Good my] My good Qq, Pope+, 
139, 165. a-cold] Hyphen, Rowe. Jen. Mat Ec. 

gentleman, Mahu, Mahu is his name. 9 I am inclined to think this catch not to be 
the production of Suckling, but the original referred to by Edgar's speech. Wjught : 
But as Suckling in other parts of his play is constantly alluding to Sh., it is more 
likely that in this he is only quoting from Lear. Steevens : Edgar says this in 
resentment at what Gloucester bad just asked : ' Hath your grace no better com- 

137, 138. Cowden Cla&ks: One of Shakespeare's subtle touches. Some tone 
or inflection in Edgar's voice has reached the father's heart, and bitterly recalls the 
supposed unfilial conduct of his elder son, and he links it with that of Lear's daugh- 
ters. Edgar, instinctively feeling this, perseveres with his Bedlam cry, to drown 
the betrayed sound of his own voice, and maintain the impression of his assumed 

141. T' obey] Mason : That is, ' my duty will not suffer me to obey,' &c Wright : 
But it is not certain whether the sense is not, < My duty to you must not suffer by my 
obeying your daughters' commands.' For this use of. the infinitive, see ABBOTT, 
5 356 [or III, v, 8 ; Macb. IV, ii, 69; Ham. Ill, iii, 85 ; IV, ii, ia]. 

141. T' obey in] Wright: The construction would be familiar if it were 'to 
obey your daughters in all their hard commands.' 

145. fire and food is] See II, i, 113. 

147. thunder] Moberly: Being so 4 unsophisticated.' — having so completely re- 
duced mankind to their elements, surely this man must have a spontaneous insight 
into the nature of things, such as would at least tell him what is the cause of thunder. 
Like the celebrated German poet and physicist, he will have ' a pure sense of nature, 
cebelling against the barbarism of reflection*' 



[act hi, sc. to 

Lear. I '11 talk a word with this same learned Theban.— 
What is your study ? ISO 

Edg. How to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin. 

Lear. Let me ask you one word in private. 

Kent Importune him once more to go, my lord ; 
His wits begin f unsettle. 

Glou. Canst thou blame him ? [Storm still. 

His daughters seek his death. Ah, that good Kent! 155 

He said it would be thus, poor banish'd man ! 
Thou say*st the king grows mad ; I '11 tell thee, friend, 
I am almost mad myself. I had a son, 
Now outlaw'd from my blood ; he sought my life, 
But lately, very late ; I loved him, friend, 160 

No father his son dearer; true to tell thee, 
The grief hath crazed my wits. What a night f s this ! — 

149, 150. Prose, Qq. 

149. talk] take F F 4 . 
same] moft Qq, Jen. 

150. What..jstudy] Given to Kent by 

152. me] us F 3 F 4 + . 

private] private, friend. Ktly. 

153, 154. Importune. ...unsettle.] One 
line, Qq. 

153. once more] Om. Qq, Pope, Han. 

154.. [Storm still.] Om. Qq, Cap. 
Transferred to line 161, Mai. Steev. Bos. 

Knt, Sing. Dyce, Sta. Ktly. To line 
162, Coll. Del. Wh. 
155. Ah] O Qq. 

157. sa/st]fai/l Q^ faye/i Q,Ff. 

158. 1 am] Pm Pope+, Dyce ii 

159. outlay? d] out-lawed Qq. 
he sought] a fought Q s . 

161. true] truth Q,, Glo.+, Mob. 

162. hath] has Q a . 
night's] nights Q t F a F,. 

162, 163. The..grace] Two lines, the 
first ending toils. Qq. 

151. prevent] Wright: Here used with something of its original sense of an- 
ticipating, being beforehand with, as well as the more common'meaning which now 
belongs to the word. [See Ham. II, ii, 286 : ' My anticipations prevent your dis- 

154. Steevens cites a note by Horace Walpole, in the postscript to his Mysterious 
Mother, where he observes that when * Belvidera talks of " Lutes, laurels, seas of 
milk, and ships of amber," she is not mad, but light-headed. When madness has 
taken possession of a person, such character ceases to be fit for the stage, or, at least, 
should appear there but for a short time ; it being the business of the theatre to ex- 
hibit passions, not distempers. The finest picture ever drawn, of a hjead discomposed 
by misfortune, is that of King Lear. His thoughts dwell on the ingratitude of his 
daughters, and every sentence that falls from his wildness excites reflection and pity. 
Had frenzy entirely seized him, our compassion would abate : we should conclude 
that he no longer felt unhappiness. Shakespeare wrote as a philosopher, Otway as a 

act in. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 201 

1 do beseech your grace, — 

Lear. Oh, cry you mercy, sir. — 163 

Noble philosopher, your company. 

Edg. Tom's a-cold. 165 

Glou. In, fellow, there, into th* hovel ; keep thee warm. 

Lear. Come, let's in all. 

Kent. This way, my lord. 

Lear. With him ; 

I will keep still with my philosopher. 

Kent. Good my lord, soothe him ; let him take the fellow. 

Clou. Take him you on. 170 

Kent. Sirrah, come on ; go along with us. 

Lear. Come, good Athenian. 

Glou. No words, no words ! Hush. 

Edg . Child Rowland to the dark tower came. 

His word was still * Fie, /oh, and font, 175 

/ smell t/te blood of a British man.' [Exeunt. 

163. grace, — ] Cap. grace. QqFf+. 1 69. Good... fellow.] Two lines, Ff. 

grace, Warb. 171.] Sirrah, come on; 

sir] Om. Qq, Cap. Mai. Steev. along with us. Pope+. On, sirrah: go 

Bos. Sing. Ktly. with us. Cap. 

163, 164. O... company.] One line, Qq. 173. Hush] Separate line, Steev. Bos. 

165. a-cold] Rowe. a cold QqFf. Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. Dyce i, Wh. Ktly. 

166. there, into th'] there, in 1 tQ. into 1 74. tower] Ff. towne Q,Q a . 
th* Pope+ . there, to the Cap. Steev. Ec came] Ff. come Qq, Cap. 
Bos. there, in, to the Mai. 175. Fic.fum] Ff. (fumme F t ). fy 

167. 168. With philosopher.] One fo andfum Q,. fye,fo, andfum Q^. 

line, Qq. 176. British] Brittijh Ff. 

168. him; I] him I Qq. [Exeunt.] Om. Qq. 

163. your grace,— ] Cowden Clarke : Here Gloucester attempts to lead Lear 
towards the shelter he has provided in the farm-house adjoining the castle ; but the 
king will not hear of quitting his ' philosopher. 9 Gloucester then induces the Bed- 
lam-fellow to go into the hovel, that he may be out of Lear's sight ; but Lear pro- 
poses to follow him thither, saying ' Let's in all.' Kent endeavours to draw Lear 
away, but, finding him resolved to * keep still with ' his ' philosopher,' begs Gloucester 
to humour the king, and 'let him take the fellow' with him. Gloucester accedes, 
and bids Kent himself take the fellow with them in the direction they desire to go; 
and this is done. We point out these details, because, if it be not specially observed, 
the distinction between the ' hovel ' and the ' farm-house ' would hardly be under- 
stood. The mention of 'cushions' and a 'joint-stool' in Scene vi shows it to be 
some place of better accommodation than the ' hovel ;' and probably some cottage 
or farm-house belonging to one of Gloucester's tenants. 

174. Child Rowland] Capell: Every observing reader of Spenser, and of the 
writers of his class, knows that ' Child ' is a common appellative of the knight in 
romances ; deriv'd from the first gross importers of them into our language from out 

202 KING LEAR [act hi, sc. iv. 

[174. Child Rowland.] 

the Spanish and French, in which he is call'd enfant, and infante; and all know 
that ' Rowland ' is only Roland pronounc'd rustically, and Roland a contraction of 
Orlando, so that * Child Rowland ' is the knight Sir Orlando. Percy (note on Child 
Waters, vol. iii, p. 58, 1765) cites with approval Warburton's note on this passage, 
to the effect that ' in the old times of chivalry the noble youth who were candidates 
for knighthood, during the time of their probation, were called Jnfans, Varlets, Da- 
moysels, Bacheliers. The most noble of the youth were particularly called Ittf arts' 
Steevens: Beau, and Fl. in The Woman's Prize [II, i] refer to this: <a mere 
hobby-horse She made Child Rowland.' Nares : Childe Harold has lately made 
the term very familiar. 

174, 176. Capell, despite the fact that it is an assumed madman who speaks 
these lines, maintained that we should not only make sense of them, but show * their 
particular propriety.' He was convinced that ' never any Orlando ' said * Fie, fob, 
fum.' Therefore a line must have been omitted, and in that line ' the smeller-out ' 
of Child Rowland must have been mentioned. Accordingly, he ' perfected ' the 
stanza, and, although he thought it presumptuous to insert his own line in Shake- 
speare's text, yet ' the world may not be displeas'd to see it done in a note, and that 
in sense and rime too, as follows : [it should be premised that he adopted, instead 
of ' came ' of the Ff, come of the Qq, 1. e. being come] " Child Rowland to the dark 
tower come, The giant roarM, and out he ran ; His word was," ' &c. Having thus 
settled the < sense ' of the passage, Capell reveals * its propriety,' by explaining that 
« " Child Rowland" is Edgar himself; the " dark tower," his hovel; and the JSefo- 
fiim giant, his father Gloster; who, he fears, might have the giant's sagacity, and accost 
him in no less dreadful a manner.' Keightley proposed, * The Giant saw him, and 
out he ran.' Ritson thought that the first line was a translation of some French or 
Spanish ballad, but that the last two lines belonged to a different subject. Dyce, 
however, in his Few Notes, p. 146, speaks of all three lines as one ballad, of which 
* (probably with some variations from the original) fragments of a Scottish version 
have been preserved by Jamieson in Illustr, of Northern Antiquities, &c. 1 8 14. He 
gives (p. 402) : " With fi, fi, fo, and fum ! I smell the blood of a Christian man ! 
Be he dead, be he living, wi' my brand I'll clash his harns frae his harn-pan ' " (1. e, 
I'll knock his brains out of his skull).' Halliwell believes [with Ritson] that 
' Edgar quotes from two different compositions, the first line from a ballad on Rowland, 
the second from Jack and the, Giants ; the original source of the popular words Fie, 
foh, and fum is unknown. They are alluded to in Peele's Old Wives Tale, 1595, — 
u Fee, fa, fum, — Here is the Englishman, — Conquer him that can." Again, in Nash's 
Have With You to Saffron Walden, 1596, — " O, 'tis a precious apothegmaticall pedant, 
who will finde matter inough to dilate a whole daye of the first invention of Fy,fa, 
fum, I smell the bloud of an Englishman." The probability is that the distich quoted 
by Nash and Sh. belongs to some early version of the tale of Jack and the Giants, 
[Halliwell thinks that the earliest known edition of this story is 1 771, or possibly 
1 741. Halliwell also gives the story of Child Rowland from Jamieson's Illusir. of 
North, Antiquities, p. 397 ; it is also given in Child's admirable Eng. and Scottish 
Ballads, i, 416.] Wright : The substitution of ' Britishman ' fax Englishman points 
to the time when, under James I, the name of England was merged in the more 
general title of Great Britain. See IV, vi, 249 [where Ff have * English ' and the 
Qq have British, See also Appendix, p. 377.3 v.] KING LEAR 203 

Scene V. Gloucester 's castle. 


Corn. I will have my revenge ere I depart his house. 

Edtn. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature 
thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think oC 

Corn. I now perceive, it was not altogether your brother's 
evil disposition made him seek his death, but a provoking 5 
merit, set a-work by a reproveable badness in himself. 

Scene v.] Sccna Quinta Ff (Scsena 1. my] Om. F S F 4 +. 

FJ. Scene iv. Rowe* Scene viil his] the Qq. this Han. 

Pope + , Jen. 5, 6. provoking merit] provoked spirit 

Gloucester's castle.] Rowe. A Han. Jen. 

Room in Gloster*s Castle. Cap. 6. a-work] a worke QqF t . a work 

Enter.. ..Edmund.] Enter....Baftard. F 3 F 4 . 

Qq. Om. Johns. himself] him Han. 

2. censured] For < censure ' meaning opinion, see Ham. I, iii, 69 ; I, iv, 35 ; III, 
ii, 25 ; III, ii, 82. Wright: See the Dedication to V. and A^ ' I know not how I 
shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world 
will censure me for chosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden.' 

3. fears] For instances of this verb meaning to terrify, to frighten, see 
Schmidt, s. v. 

5. provoking merit] Warsurton : That is, a merit which, being neglected by 
the father, was provoked to an extravagant act. Mason : Provoking here means 
stimulating; a merit he felt in himself, which irritated him against a father that had 
none. Malonb : Cornwall, I suppose, means the merit of Edmund, which, being 
noticed by Gloucester, provoked or instigated Edgar to seek his father's death. 
Warburton conceived that the merit spoken of was that of Edgar. But how is this 
consistent with the rest of the sentence ? Hudson : Cornwall means, apparently, a 
virtue apt to be provoked or stirred into act; which virtue was set to work by some 
flagrant evil in Gloucester himself. * Provoking* for provocable ; the active form 
with the passive sense. Cowden Clarke : * An inciting desert.' This probably 
refers to what the speaker considers the discovered turpitude of Gloucester, which 
deserves punishment, and incites Edgar to seek his death, putting into activity the 
latter's blameable badness of character. The difficulty here arises from the uncer- 
tainty as to whom the pronouns 'him,' 'his,' and 'himself refer. Wright: A 
consciousness of his own worth which urged him on. Moberly: Probably 'an 
anticipative merit ; ' that is, a meritorious forestalling of crime by its punishment. 
Nichols {Notes, &c, No. 2, p. 12) paraphrases : ' It was not altogether your brother's 
evil disposition that made him seek his death — the old man deserved it. There was 
a merit, a deserving on his part, " set a-work by a reproveable badness in himself," 
that provoked your brother to the act. " The provoking merit " was in Gloucester 

6. a-work] See II, ii, 69 ; III, iv, 57 ; Ham. II, ii, 466 ; I, v, 19, or Abbott, $ 24* 

204 KING LEAR [act hi, sc v. 

Edm. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent 7 
to be just \ This is the letter he spoke of, which approves 
him an intelligent party to the advantages of France. O 
heavens I that this treason were not, or not I the dete&or I 10 

Corn. Go with me to the duchess. 

Edm. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have 
mighty business in hand. 

Corn. True or false, it hath made thee earl of Gloucester. 
Seek out where thy father is. that he may be ready for our 15 

Edm. [Aside] If I find him comforting the king, it will 
stuff his suspicion more fully. — I will persever in my course 
of loyalty, though the conflidi be sore between that and my 
blood. 20 

Corn. I will lay trust upon thee, and thou shalt find a 
dearer father in my love. [Exeunt. 

8. Utter] Utter which Ff+ f Jen. Ec. 18. persever] F^F,, Del. Dyce, Sta. 
Knt, Coll. Del. Wh. Sch. Cam. Wr. Sch. perfeuere QqF 4 et cet. 

9. advantages] advances Anon.* 22. dearer] Qq. deere F s F a . dear 

10. this treason were not] his treafon F.F 4 , Rowe, Sch. 

Were Qq. [Exeunt] Exit. Qq. 

17. [Aside] Theob. Om. QqFf. 
^— — ^— ^^^^— . — — — — — — — — — 

8. to be just] See III, iv, 141 ; or Abbott, § 356. 

9. intelligent party] For the position of the adjective, compare IV, i, 3; or 
• our suffering country Under a hand accurst.' — Macb. Ill, vi, 48. Schmidt, how- 
ever, says that « to ' does not depend on • intelligent,' but on ' party.' 

17. comforting] Johnson: This word is used in the juridical sense for support- 
ing, helping. Lord Campbell : The indictment against an accessory after the fact* 
for treason, charges that the accessory ' comforted ' the principal traitor after know- 
ledge of the treason. 

18. persever] Wright: This* represents the older pronunciation of the word, 
which in Sh. has uniformly the accent on the second syllable. [See Ham, I, ii, 92.] 

20. blood] Wright : Natural temperament. See Ham. Ill, ii, 64, [Also Lear, 
IV, ii, 64.] 




Scene VI. A chamber in a farmhouse adjoining the castle. 

Enter Kent and Gloucester. 

Glou. Here is better than the open air; take it thank- 
fully. I will piece out the comfort with what addition I 
can; I will not be long from you. 

Kent All the power of his wits have given way to his 
impatience. The gods reward your kindness! 5 

[Exit Gloucester. 

Enter Lear, Edgar, and Fool. 

Edg. Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an 
angler in the lake of darkness. — Pray, innocent, and beware 
the foul fiend. 

Fool. Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a 
gentleman or a yeoman. 10 

Lear. A king, a king I 

Fool. No, he's a yeoman that has a gentleman to his 

Scene vi.] Scena Sexta Ff (Scaena 
F a ). Scene v. Rowe. Scene ix. 

A chamber castle.] Mai. A 

Chamber. Rowe. A Chamber, in a 
Farm-house. Theob. A Room in some 
of the out-buildings of the Castle. Cap. 

Enter...] Ff. Enter...and Lear, Foole, 
and Tom. Qq. 

4. have] QqFf, Jen. Dyce, Sta. Glo+, 
Sch. hath Cap. has Pope et cet. 
to his] to Qq. 

5. reward] deferue Qq. preserve 
Cap. conj. 

[Exit Gloucester.] As in Cap. Af. 
ter line 3, Ff+, Jen. Sch. Om. Qq. . 
[Enter...Fool.] Ff+,Jen. Sch. 

6. Frateretto"] Fretereto Qq. Frater- 
retto Ff (Fraterreto F 4 ). 

7. and] Om. Qq. 

9. be] may bee Q 9 . 

10. gentleman] Gentlemen F a . 
12-15. Fool. No.„Mm. Lear.] Om 


4. power • . . have] A plural by attraction, or, as Abbott, $412, terms it, by 
proximity. See Nam. I, ii, 38. 
6. Frateretto] See Percy's note, III, iv, 111. 

6. Nero] Upton (Crit. Obs. p. 235, ed. ii) : Nero was a fiddler [or rather, played 
on a hurdy-gurdy: 'Neron estoyt vielleux.' — Ed.] in hell, as Rabelais tells us, 
ii, xxx. And Trajan was an angler [for frogs]. . . But players and editors, not 
willing that so good a prince as Trajan should have such a vile employment, substi- 
tuted Nero in his room, without any sense or allusion at all. From Rabelais, there- 
fore, the passage should be thus corrected : * Trajan is an angler,' &c. RiTSON : 
The History of Gargantua had appeared in English before 1575. 

7. innocent] Steevens : He is here addressing the Fool. Fools were anciently 
called innocents. See All's Well, IV, iii, 13. Capell, however, supposed it to 
mean : ' Be innocent when you pray/ 




[act zii, sc. vi. 

son, for he's a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman, 13 
before him. 

Lear. To have a thousand with red burning spits 1 5 

Come hizzing in upon 'em, — 

Edg. The foul fiend bites my back. 

Fool. He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, 

* a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath. 

* Lear. It shall be done ; I will arraign them straight — 20 

* Come, sit thou here, most learned justicer. — 

13. mad'] Om. FF, Rowe, Pope, 

15, 16. To have..: em, — ] Prose, Qq, 

16. hitting] Ff. hi/king Q f . luffing 
Q,, Jen. Knt, Del. Sing. Dyce, Sta. 
Glo.+, Sch. whining MaL conj. Bos. 
Coll. Wh. Ktly. 

'em,—] 'em— Theob. 'em. Ff. 
them. Qq, Cap. Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, 
Coll. Del. 

17-54. Om. Ff, Rowe. 

19. a horse's health] the heels of a 
horse Warb. a horse's heels Sing ii, 

a horses. ...oath] the health of a 
horse, the love of a boy, or the oath of a 
whore. Pope, Theob. Han. 

20. them] 'em Pope, Theob. Han. 

21. [To the Fool. Han. To Edgar. 

justicer] Theob. i«/?*V*Qq,Pope, 

13, 14. he's • • • him] Collier : This seems to have been a proverbial expres- 
sion. Hudson : A rather curious commentary on some of the Poet's own doings ; 
who obtained from the Herald's College a coat-of-arms in his father's name ; thus 
getting his yeoman father dubbed a gentleman, in order, no doubt, that he himself 
might inherit his rank. Schmidt also alludes to this grant of arms to Shakespeare's 
father, which took place not long before the composition of Lear, and asks : Docs 
the present passage refer to this incident ? If it do, might there not be a play upon 
words concealed in * a mad yeoman,' that is ' a made yeoman,' a yeoman whose luck 
is made, or, since it is not necessary to be too precise in dealing with the Fool's wit, 
a complete, thorough yeoman ? 

18, 19. Schmidt asks why the Fool says this? « Does he wish merely to distract 
Lear, or to say that, in fact, the whole world is mad ?' 

19. horse's health] Warburton: Read, 4 horse's heels, 9 i. e. to stand behind 
him. Johnson : Sh. is here speaking not of things maliciously treacherous, but of 
things uncertain and not durable. A horse is above all other animals subject to 
diseases. RiTSON : Heels is certainly right. « Trust not a horse's heel nor a dog's 
tooth * is a proverb in Ray's Collection ; as ancient, at least, as the time of Edward 
II : Et ideo Babio in comcediis insinuat, dicens : « In fide, dente, pede, mulieris, equi, 
canis, est fraus.' Hoc sic vulgariter est dici : ' Till horsis foote thou never traist, 
Till hondis toth, no woman's faith.' — Forduni Scotichronicon, 1. xiv, c. xxxii. That 
in the text is probably from the Italian. 

21. justicer] Boswell: Thus Lambard's Eirenarcha : 'And of this it commeth 
that M. Fitzherbert (in his treatise of the Justices of Peace) calleth them justicers 
(contractly for justiciars), and not justices, as we commonly, and not altogether un« 
properly, doe name them,' 




* Thou, sapient sir, sit here.— Now, you she-foxes ! 22 

* Edg. Look, where he stands and glares! Wantest 
*thou eyes at trial, madam? 

* Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me. 2$ 

* Fool. Her boat hath a leak, 

22. [To Edgar. Han. To the Fool. 

here. — Now, you] here, no you Q 1# 
heere , now you Q f . here. Now ye Pope + , 
Jen. Knt. 

foxes f] foxes. Pope. Foxes— Qq. 

23-28. Om. Pope, Han. 

'23-25.] Cap. Prose, Qq. 
Verse, the first line ending eyes, Theob. 
Warb. Johns. Cap. ( — Corrigenda, vol. 
x), Jen. Ec. First line ending glares I 
Bos. Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. Ktly. 

23. he] she Theob. Warb. Johns. Jen. 
Knt, Sing. 

23. glares] glars Qq. 

Wantest] Theob. wan/lQ t . wantft 
Q a . wanton' st Seward, Jen. wantonest 
Knt, Sing. 

24. trial, madam ?] tral madam Q x . 
trial/ madam, Q a . 

25. [Sings. Sta. con}. 

bourn] boorne Cap. broome Qq, 
Theob. Warb. Johns, brook Johns, conj. 

26. [Sings. Cam. Edd. conj. 

26, 27. Her.. .speak] Cap. One line, 

22. sapient] Schmidt : Not elsewhere used by Sh. 

23. Wantest] Steevens : This appears to be a question addressed to the vision* 
ary Goneril, or some other abandon'd female, and may signify, * Do you want to 
attract admiration, even while you stand at the bar of justice?' Seward proposes 
to read wanton* st instead of ' wantest' Tieck : Possibly, Kent covers his face for 
a moment to conceal his anguish or his tears, or the Fool does so. Staunton 
(Library ed.), in place of Seward's 'plausible* conjecture, prefers * Wantonixeth 
thou,' etc. Hudson : It is addressed to some visionary person who is supposed, 
apparently, to be on trial, but does not see the spectre. Cowden Clarke: This 
signifies : ' Look where the fiend stands and glares ! Do you want eyes to gaze at 
and admire you during trial, madam ? The fiends are there to serve your purpose.' , 

24. eyes] Bell (Sh. Puck, iii, in) says this is the crier's proclamation at the 
opening of court : Oyet, commonly pronounced O Yes. 

24. at trial] Johnson : It may be observed that Edgar, being supposed to be 
found by chance, and therefore to have no knowledge of the rest, connects not his 
ideas with those of Lear, but pursues his own train of delirious or fantastick thought. 
To these words, * At trial, madam ? ' I think the name of Lear should be put. The 
process of the dialogue will support this conjecture. [Rann adopted this emenda- 
tion.] Eccles suggests that the whole speech be given to Lear, after changing ' he' 
to she, according to Theobald's text. 

25. Capell was the first to change broome of the Qq to 'boorne;' this he did on 
the authority of the original song, which he printed, in his School, &c, p. 73, from 
a black letter Qto, n. d., by W. Wager, called 7he longer thou Ih/sl, the more Fool 
thou art, thus : ' Here entreth Moros, counterfaiting a vaine gesture, and a foolish 
countenance, Synging the foote [i . e. the burden] of many Songes, as foolcs were wont. 
. . . Com' over the Boorne Besse, My little pretie Besse Com over the Boorne besse 
to me.' Steevens says this song was entered on the Stationers' Registers in 1564. 
But an earlier instance of this song was discovered by Collier :, This and what follows 

208 KING LEAR [act hi, sc. vi. 

* And she must not speak 27 

* Why she dares not come over to thee. 

* Edg. The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a 

* nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom's belly for two white 30 

* herring. Croak not, black angel ; I have no food for thee. 

30. Hoppedance]^. Hop-dance 0*$. Ec. Knt. 

Hopdance Pope et cet. 31. Croak.. Jhee] Separate line, Qq. 

31. herring] herrings Pope+, Jen. 

from the Fool are certainly parti of an old song, which was imitated by W. Birch in 
his ' Dialogue between Elizabeth and England ' (printed by W. Pickering without 
date), which thus commences: ' Come over the bourn, Bessy, come over the bourn, 
Bessy, Sweet Bessy, come over to me; And I shall thee take, And my dear lady make 
Before all that ever I see.' It is in the same measure as the addition by the Fool. 
See also Old Ballads, &c, Percy Society, 1840. Wright says the date of Birch's 
song is 1558, and that it is printed in full in the Harleian Misc. x, 260. White 
refers to the curious fact that in the Merry Wives Master Brook's name is invariably 
spelled Broome in the Folio, which Collier's (MS) revealed to be a misprint for 
Bourne, M alone : There is a peculiar propriety in this address, that has not, I be- 
lieve, been hitherto observed. * Bessy ' and ' poor Tom,' it seems, usually travelled 
together. The author of the The Court of Conscience, or Dick Whippets Sessions, 
1607, describing beggars, idle rogues, and counterfeit madmen, thus speaks of these 
associates : ' Another sort there is among you ; they Do rage with furie as if they 
were so frantique They knew not what they did, but every day Make sport with stick 
and flowers like an antique ; Stowt roge and harlot counterfeited gomme ; One calls 
herself poor Besse the other Tom? Halliwell gives the music of this song from 
a sixteenth-century MS in the Brit. Mus. This music seems to have escaped Chap- 
pell, although he refers to the song on p. 505 of his Popular Music. 

27, 28. Schmidt : Perhaps we should read : ' And she must not speak ; Why, she 
dares,' &c. 

30. nightingale] Wright : Apparently suggested by the Fool's singing. Percy 
refers to a passage in Harsnet's Declaration, which seems to have no further con- 
nection with this than that a nightingale is mentioned in both places. 

30. Hoppedance] This spelling may indicate the pronunciation; see IV, i, 58. 
At all events, there is no reason why we should not follow our sole text in these 
monstrous names. See Percy's note on III, iv, in. — Ed. 

31. white herring] Steevens : That is, pickled herring. As You Like It ( Cent. 
Mag. lx, 402) : There is no occasion to pickle the herring, whilst 'white herring' is 
provincial for fresh herring. 

31. Croak] Steevens: In Harsnet's book, p. 194, 195, Sarah Williams (one of 
the pretended demoniacks) deposeth, ' — that if at any time she . . . was troubled 
with a wind in her stomacke, the priests would say at such times, that then the spirit 
began to rise in her. And ' as she saith, if they heard any croaking in her belly 
. . . then they would make a wonderful matter of that.' Malone : ' One time shee 
remembereth, that shee having the said croaking in her belly, they said it was the 
devil that was about the bed, that spake with the voice of a toad.' — Ibid. 

act in, sc. vi.] KING LEAR 209 

* Kent How do you, sir ? Stand you not so amazed 32 

* Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions ? 

* Lear. I'll see their trial first. — Bring in their evidence.— 

* Thou robed man of justice take thy place. — 35 

* And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity, 

* Bench by his side. — You are o' th* commission 

* Sit you too, 

* Edg. Let us deal justly. 

* Steepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd? 40 

* Thy sheep be in the corn ; 

* And for one blast of thy minikin mouth, 

32,33. Kent. How...cushionsf]Thtoh. 36. [To the Fool. Cap. 

Prose, Qq. Om. Pope, Han. 37. [To Kent. Cap. 

33. cushions] cushings Q,. £eneh...side] Separate line, Del. 
34-38. I'll., .too] Pope. Prose, Qq. Sch. 

34. trial first. Bring] Cap. (subs.) 0* th 9 ] of the Han. Cap. Steev. 
triall first t bring Qq. trial y bring me Var. 

Pope, Han. trial firsts bring me Theob. 39*45* Edg* Let. .gray. Lear.] Om. 

Warb. Johns. Jen. Pope, Han. 

35. [To Edgar. Cap. 40-43. Sleepest..harm.] Theob. Prose, 
robed] Pope, robbed Qq. Qq. 

34. trial] Lord Campbell : This imaginary trial is conducted in a manner showing 
perfect familiarity with criminal procedure. Lear places the two judges on the bench, 
Mad Tom and the Fool. He properly addresses the former as ' the robed man of 
justice,' but, although both were ' of the commission/ I do not quite understand 
why the latter is called his ' yoke-fellow of equity,' unless this might be supposed to 
be a special commission, like that which sat on Mary, Queen of Scots, including 
Lord Chancellor Audley. 

34. their evidence] Thus in the Qq, which Pope, followed by all editors, except 
Schmidt, needlessly changed to 'the evidence. 9 As Wright suggests, 'their evi- 
dence ' means the evidence of witnesses against them. 

40. Sleepest, &c] Johnson : This seems to be a stanza of some pastoral song. 
Dyce: No doubt it is. Steevens: In The Interlude of Ike Four Elements, 1519, 
Ignorance sings a song composed of the scraps of several others; among them is 
the following : ' Sleepyst thou, wakyst thou, Gefiery Coke.' Halliwell; Compare 
also the poem of King Arthur and the King of Cornwall, printed from the Percy MS 
by Sir F. Madden : [Percys Folio MS, i, 70] ' And when he came to the Kings 
chamber, he cold of his curtesie, says, ' sleepe you, wake you, noble King Arthur ? 
& euer Jesus waken yee ! ' Staunton : As ' the foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the 
voice of a nightingale/ the representative of Edgar was surely intended by Sh. to 
sing these fragments of old ballads, and not tamely recite them after the manner of 
the modern stage. 

41, 43. corn, harm] See note on Shakespeare's rhymes, II, iii, 20, 21. 

42. blast] Collier (ed. 3) : Probably taste. 

42. minikin] Steevens : Baret's Ahearie has [s. v. Feat] : ' Proper, feat, weE- 
18* O 

2IO KING LEAR [act in, sc. vL 

* Tliy slieep sliall take no harm. 

* Pur ! the cat is gray. 

* Lear. Arraign her first ; 'tis Goneril. I here take my 45 

* oath before this honourable assembly, she kicked the poor 

* king her father. 

* Fool. Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril ? 

* Lear. She cannot deny it 

* Fool. Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool. 50 

* Lear. And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim 

* What store her heart is made on. — Stop her there I 
•* Arms, arms, sword, fire ! Corruption in the place ! 

* False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape ? * 

Edg. Bless thy five wits ! 55 

Kent. O pity ! — Sir, where is the patience now, 

That you so oft have boasted to retain ? 
Edg. My tears begin to take his part so much, 

They mar my counterfeiting 

45-47. /...father.] Om. Pope, Han. 53. Corruption] corruption's Han. 
46. she] Om. Q t . place] palace Wh. 

49. cannot] can't Han. 57. retain] remain F S F 4 , RoWe. 
5a joint-stool] Pope. ioyneftooU Q,. 58. [Aside. Rowe et cet. 

ioyntjioole Q,. joirid stool Wh. 59. They] Ff + , Sch. TheiU Q f . They I 

51, 52. And.. .there t] Om. Pope. Q,. The/HC&p. et cet. 

52. made on] Cap. Ec. Coll. Sing. counterfeiting] counterfeting Q, 
Glo+, Sch. made an Qq. made of counterfeiting F f F g . 

Theob. et cet. 

fashioned, minikin, handsome.' Wright cites from the same « Elegant : neate, fresh, 
feate, gorgeous, gay, pretie, fine, minikin, tricke and trimme.' 

44. Pur] Malone : This may be only an imitation of a cat. Purre is, however, 
one of the devils mentioned by Harsnet, p. 50. 

50. joint-stool] Steevens : This proverbial expression occurs in Lilly's Mother 
Bombie, 1594 [IV, ii; ed. Fairholt, vol. ii, p. 121 : ' I crie you mercy, I took you for 
a joynt stoole.' — Wright], Halliwell: A common old proverbial phrase, the 
exact meaning of which has not been satisfactorily explained, but which may per- 
haps be gathered from the following example : ' Ante hoc te cornua habere putabam, 
I cry you mercy, I tooke you for a joynd stoole.' — Withals' Dictionary, ed. 1634, 


52 store] Theobald (Nichols's Must, ii, 376) suggested stone, which Collier 

and Keightley adopted. Jennens conjectured stuff, as did Jervis. Schmidt 
thinks that 'store' is surely wrong, and that Jennens's emendation is probable. 

54. 'scape] Moberly : Probably in Lear's delirium the ideas succeed one another 
so rapidly that he cannot long hold the thought that he has Regan before him ; con- 
sequently the vanishing of the image seems to him like an actual escape of his 

ACT III, SC. Vi.] 



Lear. The little dogs and all, 60 

Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me. 

Edg. Tom will throw his head at them. — Avaunt, you 

Be thy mouth or black or white, 

Tooth that poisons if it bite ; 6$ 

Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim, 

Hound or spaniel, brach or lym, 

Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail, 

Tom will make him weep and wail ; 

For, with throwing thus my head, 70 

Dogs leaped the hatch, and all are fled. 

61. Tray] Trey QqF t F,F 3 . 

62-71. Tom..jltd] Rowe. Verse, the 
first line ending you, Ff. Tow. ..curs, a 
separate line, the rest prose, Qq. 

66, 67. mongrel grim, Hound] Rowe 
(subs.). Mongrill, Grim, Hound Ff 
( Mungril F 4 ). mungril, grim-houd Q t . 
Jifungrel, Grim-hound Q a . 

67. lym] Han. him Q t . Him Q^. 

Hym Ff + . 

6S. Or bobtail tike] Bobtaile tike Qq. 
Or Bobtaile tight T x YJF y (Bobtail F 3 ). 

trundle-tail] trudletaileQ^. Troudle 
taile F,F a . Troudle tail F_F 4 . 

69. him] Ff+, Jen. Ec. Knt, Wh. 
Sch. them Qq et cet. you Ec. conj. 

71. leaped] leapt Ff, Sch. leape Qq 
et cet. 

6f . bark] Moberly : Not so much because they are set on me, as because they 
spontaneously catch the hard-hearted temper of their masters. 
67. brach] See I, iv, 107. 

67. lym] Steevens : In Jonson's Bartholomew Fair [T, i] : « all the lime hounds 
o' the city should have drawn after you by the scent.' A limmer or learner, a dog 
of the chase, was so called from the learn or leash in which he was held till he was 
let slip. I have this information from Caius de Canibus Bntannicis. So in the book 
of Antient Tenures by T. B., 1679, the words 'canes domini regis lesos* are trans- 
lated ' Leash hounds, such as draw after a hurt deer, in a leash or Ham! Again, in 
The Muses Elysium, by Drayton : • My dog-hook at my belt, to which my lyam's 
ty'd.' Again : ' My hound then in my lyam,' &c. Capell derives it from the 
French limier, which Cotcrave defines: 'a Bloud hound, or Lime-hound. 1 
RiTSON (p. 170): A* lym' seems to have been a large dog of the spaniel kind. 
' His cosin had a Lyme hound argent white.' — Harrington's Orlando Furioso, xli, 
30. Again : ' His Lyme laid on his back, he crouching down.' The word, differ- 
ently spelled, occurs again, p. 349 : ' Oliuero whose deuise is the Spaniell, or lyam 

68. tike] Nares : A northern word for a common sort of dog, and still a frequent 
term of reproach in Lancashire and Yorkshire [and in New England. — Ed.]. 

68. trundle-tail] Steevens: See Hey wood's Woman Killed with Kindness 
[Works, ii, 99. — Wright] : « I, and your Dogges are trindle-tailes and curs.' 

70. After this line in Edwin Booth's Prompt Book there is the stage-direction : 
* Throws straw crown to left/ 

2 1 2 KING LEAR [act hi, sc. vl 

Do, de, de, de. Sessa ! Come, march to wakes and fairs J2 
and market-towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry. 

72, 73. Do..Jry.] Two lines, the first 72. Sessa I Come] Sessey,eome Pope+, 

ending Fayres, in Ff+, Jen. Ec. Jen. Bessy, come Anon. ap. Rann conj. 

72. Do... Sessa f\ Mai. Do, de, de, dt : see, seel Come Coll. Wh. Ktiy. 

fefe: Ff, Rowe. loudla doodla, Qq. 73. dry.] dry,F t . dry. Exit. F.F^. 

Do, do, de, de, &*c. [singing. Cap. Poor., dry] As an Aside, Cap. 

72. Sessa !] See III, iv, 96. Steeveks : It is difficult in this place to say what is 
meant by this word. It should be remembered, that just before, Edgar had been calling 
on Bessy to come to him ; and he may now, with equal propriety, invite Sessy (per- 
haps a female name corrupted from Cecilia) to attend him to 'wakes and fairs.' Nor 
is it impossible but that this may be a part of some old song, and originally stood 

thus : • Sissy, come march to wakes, And fairs, and market towns .' [The jingle 

into which the words naturally (all adds probability to this conjecture. — Ed.] As 
You Like It {Cent. Mag. lx, 402) conjectures that this is an address to an imagi- 
nary dog : ' Sessy, or cesse, is still used in some counties to encourage dogs to come 
out of kennel,' &c, ' so here it may mean to encourage a dog to follow him to 
wakes,' &c, for the sake of the good provisions to be found there. Moberly : It is 
probably like 'sa, sa' below, a word used in following the hunt; being the name 
for a note played on the horn. 

73. horn] Steevens : I suppose Edgar to speak these words aside. [See Text. 
Notes.] Being quite weary of his Tom o' Bedlam's part, and finding himself unable 

to support it any longer, he says, privately : • I can no more ; all my materials 

for sustaining the character of Poor Tom are now exhausted; my horn is dry;'* i. e. 
has nothing more in it ; and accordingly we have no more of his dissembled madness 
till he meets his father in the next act, when he resumes it for a speech or two, but 
not without expressing the same dislike of it that he expresses here : * I cannot daub 
it further.' Malone : A ' horn ' was usually carried about by every Tom of Bedlam, 
to receive such drink as the charitable might afford him, with whatever scraps of food 
they might give him. When, therefore, Edgar says his horn is dry, or empty, I con- 
ceive he merely means, in the language of the character he assumes, to supplicate that 
it may be filled with drink. Sec a Pleasant Dispute between Coach and Sedan, 1636 : 
' Tom-a Bedlam may sooner eate his horn, than get it filled with small drinke; and 
for his old almes of bacon there is no hope in the world.' A horn so commonly 
meant a drinhing-atp that Coles's first explanation of it is in that sense : * A horn : 
I as corneum.' Douce: An opportunity here presents itself of suggesting a more 
correct mode of exhibiting the theatrical dress of Poor Tom than we usually see, on 
the authority of Randle Holme in The Academy of Armory, iii, 161, where he says 
that the Bedlam has * a long staff and a cow or ox-horn by his side ; his cloathing 
fantastic and ridiculous; for, being a madman, he is madly decked and dressed all 
over with rubins, feathers, cuttings of cloth, and what not, to make him seem a mad- 
man or one distracted, when he is no other than a dissembling knave.' Dyce ( Gloss. 
s. v. Tom d Bedlam) : The following account from Aubrey's unpublished Natural 
History of Wiltshire was, I believe, first cited by DTsraeli in his Curiosities of 
Literature. I now give it as quoted by Mr Halliwcll from Royal Soc. Ms : « Till 
the breaking out of the Civill Wanes, Tom d Bedlams did traucll about the countery. 
They had been poore distracted men that had been putt into Bedlam, where recov- 




Lear. Then let them anatomize Regan; see what 
breeds about her heart Is there any cause in nature 75 
that makes these hard hearts? — You, sir, I entertain 
for one of my hundred; only I do not like the fashion 
of your garments. You will say they are Persian; but 
let them be changed. 

Kent Now, good my lord,, lie here and rest awhile. 80 

Lear. Make no noise, make no noise; draw the cur- 
tains; so, so. We'll go to supper i' th* morning. 

74-79. Prose, Ff. Fiye lines, Qq. 
Six lines, Ktly. 

74. anatomize] anotomize Qq. 

75. her heart. Is] her Hart is Q,. 
her, Hart is Qj. 

76. mates] make Ff, Rowe, Sch. 
these hard hearts f] Rowe. thefe 

hard-hearts. F X F 9 . this hardnes, Q,. 
this hardnejfe; Q 9 . 

[To Edgar. Cap. 

77. for] yon for Qq, Cap. Steev. Ec 
Var. Coll. Del. Sing. Wh. Ktly. 

78. garments. You will 'say] garments 
youlefay, Q,. garment; yoiCl fay Qj. 

78. Persian] Ff+, Cap. Knt, Dyce 1, 
Sta. Sch. Perftan attire Qq et cet. 

79. [Enter Glofter. Ff. Re-enter.., 
Pope+, Jen. 

80. and rest] Om. Qq. 

[pointing to a mean Couch. Cap. 
8l„82. Prose, QqFf. Verse (ending 
first line, curtains) , Rowc+, Jen. Ec. ; 
(ending first line so, so.) Ktly. 

82. so, so.] Ff+, Knt, Dyce i,Ktly, 
Sch. fo, fo, fo. Qq et cet.. 
V the] in the Q,. 
morning.] Ff + , Knt, Dyce i, Ktly, 
Sch. morning, fo, fo, fo. Qq et cet. 

ering to some sobernessc, they were licentiated to goe a begging. E. G. they had on 
their left arm an armilla of tinn, printed in some workes, about four inches long;, 
they could not get it off: they wore about their necks a great horn of an oxe in a 
string or bawdric, which, when they came to an house for almes, they did wind ; and 
they did putt the drink given them into this horn, whereto they did putt a stopple ' 
[See also II, iii, 14.] 

76. that makes] Schmidt upholds. make of the Ff, maintaining that in Shake- 
spearian language it is a not uncommon subjunctive, and cites from Abbott, §367 : 
4 in her youth There is a prone and speechless dialect Such as move men.* — Meas.for 
Meas. I, ii, 1 88. Also, « No matter who sec it.' — Rich. II: V, ii, 58 ; ' I care not who 
know it.' — Hen. V: IV, vii, 1x7, &c. 

78. Persian attire] Wright: The allusion is to the gorgeous robes of the East. 
So in Latin, ' Persicus ' was a synonym for splendid, as in the ' Persicos apparatus ' 
of Horace, and the ' Ornatum Persicum • of Cicero (De Scncct. 59). Moderly : A 
Persian embassy had been sent to England early in James I. reign, and a tombstone 
still remains in the churchyard of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate Street, erected to the 
memory of the secretary of this embassy, with the following inscription : « If any 
Persian come here, let him read this and pray for his soul. The Lord receive his 
soul; for here licth Maghmote (Mohammed) Shaughswarc, who was born in the 
town Noroy in Persia.' The joke on outlandish dress arises probably from the 
presence of these Persians in London. 

82. so, so] Bucknill (p. 207) : Lear is comparatively tranquil in conduct and 
language during the whole period of Edgar's mad companionship. It is only after 

214 KING LEAR Jact ra. so tL 

Fool. And I '11 go to bed at noon. 83 


Glou. Come hither, friend ; where is the king my master ? 
Kent. Here, sir ; but trouble him not ; his wits are gone. 85 
Glou. Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms ; 

I have o'erheard a plot of, death upon him. 

There is a litter ready; lay him in't, 

And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet 

Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master. 90 

If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life, 

With thine and all that offer to defend him, 

Stand in assured loss. Take up, take up, 

And follow me, that will to some provision 

83. Fool. And. ..noon."] Om. Qq. thine,.. Jqfle t ...proui/ton 9 Qq. 
Re-enter...] Cap. Enter Glofter. $&. in't] in it Q.. 

Qq (Gloccfter Q a ). 89. toward] towards Qq. 

84. Two lines, Ff. 91. shouldst] should Johns. 

88-94. There. ..provision] As in Ff. 93. Take up, take up] Take vp the 

Five lines, ending friend t ....majler t ... King Q t . Take vp to keepe Q,. 

the Fool has disappeared, and Edgar has left to be the guide of his blind father, that 
the king becomes absolutely wild and incoherent. The singular and undoubted fact 
is, that few things tranquillize the insane more than the companionship of the insane. 
It is a fact not easily explicable, but it is one of which, cither by the intuition of 
genius, or by the information of experience, Sh. appears to be aware. 

$3* noon] Capell : This facetious speech of the Fool is meant as a preparation 
for losing him ; for 'tis towards ' noon * with the play (that is, towards the middle 
of it) when he takes his leave of us in that speech. Cowden Clarke: This speech 
is greatly significant, though apparently so trivial. It seems but a playful rejoinder 
to his poor old royal master's witless "words of exhaustion, but it is, in fact, a dis. 
missal of himself from the scene of the tragedy and from his own short day of life. 
The dramatist indeed has added one slight passing touch of tender mention (Kent's 
saying, 'Come, help to bear thy master; thou must not stay behind') ere he withdraws 
him from the drama altogether; but he seems by this last speech to let us know that 
the gentle-hearted follow who ' much pined away ' at Cordelia's going into France, 
and who has since been subjected to still severer fret at his dear master's miseries, 
has sunk beneath the accumulated burden, and has gone to his eternal rest e* en in 
the very ' noon ' of his existence. Moberly : The poor creature's fate was sure to 
be hard when he was separated from his master, under whose shelter he had offended 
so many powerful persons. [See C. A. Brown's note, I, iv, 91.] 

87. upon] See Macb. Ill, i, 16; V, iii, 7. 

93. assured loss] Delius: Equivalent to 'assurance of loss/ a bold construe* 
tion, similar to that in Oth. II, i, 51 : 'my hopes . . . stand in bold cure:' and again, 
as it is in line 9S of this scene, ' stand in hard cure.' 

ACT III, SC. vi.] 



Give thee quick conduft. 

* Kent. Oppress'd nature sleeps. 95 

* This rest might yet have balm'd thy broken sinews, 

* Which, if convenience will not allow, 

* Stand in hard cure. — Come, help to bear thy mastet f 

* Thou must not stay behind. 

* Glou* Come, come, away. 
[Exeunt Kent, Gloucester, and the Fool, bearing off the King. 

* Edg. When we our betters see bearing our woes, 100 

* We scarcely think our miseries our foes. 

95-99. Kent. Oppressed. behind. 

Glou.] Om. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 

95. Oppressed] Theob. Warb. Johns. 
Cap. Steev. Bos. Coil. Dyce, Wh. Op* 
preffed Qq et cet. 

96. balm'd] Theob. balmtd Qq. 
sinews] Qq, Del. Dyce, Wh. Cam. 

Wr. Sch. senses Theob. et cet. 

97-99. Which.Mhind.] Theob. Two 
lines, the first ending cure, Qq. 

97. convenience] convenience Theob. 

Warb. Johns. 

98. [To the Fool. Theob. 

99. Come, come,] Come, away. Pope. 

[Exeunt...] Cap. Exit.Qq. Ex* 
eunt. Ff. Exeunt, bearing off the King. 
Manet Edgar. Theob. Exeunt all but 
Edgar. Glo.+, Sch. 
100-1x3. Om. Ff. 

100. 101. When foes] As in Q,. 

Prose, Q s . 

95. Oppress'd nature sleeps] Schmidt : What follows would be better intro- 
duced by ' oppressed nature, sleep ! ' ' Thy ' in the next line is more appropriate if 
we suppose it to be addressed to * nature ' rather than to Lear. 

96. sinews] Theobald (Nichols's Illust. ii, 377) suggested senses, and after* 
wards adopted it in his text. Maloke supported the emendation by a reference to 
* innocent sleep . . . Balm of hurt minds ' in Macb. II, ii, 39, and to * Th' untun'd and 
jarring senses' in this play, IV, vii, 16. But Delius thinks the emendation need* 
less, because ' sinews ' is used elsewhere by Sh. as equivalent to nerves, and, more* 
over, in connection with this very verb * break,' as in Twelfth Night, II, v,, 83 : • wo 
break the sinews of our plot.' Schmidt {Lex.) gives what is perhaps a more appo- 
site instance : ' a second fear through all her sinews spread.' — Ven. and Ad. 903. 
Halliwell (reading ' sinews ') asks : But is the verb to balm, or soothe, likely to be 
applied to ' sinews ? ' Hudson, on the other Band, says that Theobald's change ' is 
most certainly right. Why, Lear has no broken sinews; he is out of his senses; 
that is, his wits are broken. Moreover, sleep does not heal broken sinews ; but it 
has great healing efficacy upon such " perturbations of the brain v as the poor old 
king is racked with.' Wright agrees with Delius that the change is not ' absolutely 
necessary, for Lear had received a great physical as well as mental shock.' 

100, 113. Theobald: This soliloquy is extremely fine, and the sentiments of it 
are drawn equally from nature and the subject. Johnson : The omission of these 
lines in the Folio is certainly faulty ; yet I believe the Folio is printed from Shake- 
speare's last revision, carelessly and hastily performed, with more thought of short* 
ening the scenes than of continuing the action. Cambridge Editors : Every editot 
from Theobald downwards, except Hanmer, has reprinted this speech from the Qd 

216 KING LEAR [act hi, sc. vi. 

* Who alone suffers, suffers most i' th' mind, 102 

* Leaving free things and happy shows behind. 

* But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip, 

* When grief hath mates, and bearing, fellowship. 10$ 

* How light and portable my pain seems now, 

* When that which makes me bend makes the king bow, 

* He childed as I fathead ! Tom, away! 

* Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray 

102. suffers, suffers most] Thcob. fatherd, Q a . 
fuffersfuffers, tno/l Q t . fuffers, mojl Q.. 109. After bewray. Warb. marks an 

104. doth] does Theob. Warb. Johns. omission. 
108. fathered!] Theob. fathered, Q,. thyself] then thyfelfeX^ 

In deference to this consensus of authority we have* retained it, though, as it seems 
to us, internal evidence is conclusive against the supposition that the lines were 
written by Sh, Delius {New Sh. Soe. Trans. 1875-6, p. 143) : If we oppose this 
view [of the Cam. Edd.], it is because we cannot comprehend how a spurious passage 
appeared in the Qq ; for we can hardly ascribe the authorship of the supposed in- 
terpolation to the publisher, considering what we know of him and his method of 
work. Neither can we suppose that he would attempt to amplify and improve the 
MS before him of King Lear, as it was then performed. But even the internal 
evidence, from which the Cam. Edd. might be inclined to condemn Edgar's mono- 
logue, fails to convince us of its spuriousness. We readily admit that the style is 
not that of the rest of the drama; but this difference may be explained in two ways, 
partly by the form, and partly by the matter. Sh. is fond of introducing such rhyming 
lines, formed of a number of pointed, epigrammatic, antithetical sentences. They 
stand out from the surrounding blank verse, and point the moral of the preceding 
situation, and the actions of the various characters. The second explanation is, that 
the poet lays great stress on the parallelism existing between the families of Lear and 
Gloucester, and takes this opportunity of impressing it again upon his audience. A 
mere interpolator would hardly have known of this peculiar tendency of the poet, or 
have carried it out so thoroughly, and in so pregnant a manner, as in the few but 
thoroughly Shaksperian words : ' He childed as I father'd.' For the same reason 
it is more than improbable that Sh. should have cut out this passage [Delius is 
arguing that the omissions in the Ff were not by Sh., but by the actors], therebv 
thwarting his own purpose. 

103. free things] Heath : Things free from suffering. 

105. bearing] Delius: .A substantive. Schmidt: ' Bearing,' used thus abso- 
lutely for suffering, is very unusual ; we may, therefore, suppose that * bearing fellow- 
ship* is equivalent to companiomhip-in-suffering ; in this case •bearing* refers to 


108. childed, father'd] For similar instances of passive verbs, see I, i, 203. 

109. high noises] Capell : The present signal disturbances among the high and 
great. Steevens : The loud tumults of approaching war. Johnson : Attend to the 
great events that are approaching, and make thyself known when that * false opinion • 

act ni. sc. vii.] 



* When false opinion, whose wrong thoughts defile thee, 

* In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee. 

* What will hap more to-night, safe 'scape the king ! 

* Lurk, lurk.* [Exit. 

1 10 

Scene VII. Gloucester s castle. 

Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Edmund, and Servants. 

Corn. [To Goneril.'] Post speedily to my lord your hus- 
band ; show him this letter ; the army of France is landed 
— Seek out the traitor Gloucester. [Exeunt some of the Servants. 

Reg. Hang him Instantly. 

Gon. Pluck out his eyes. 

Corn. Leave him to my displeasure. — Edmund, keep you 
our sister company. The revenges we are bound to take 
upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. 

1 10. thoughts defile] Qq, Jen. Walker, 
Dyce ii, Ktly, Sch. thought defiles 
Theob. et ceL 

1 12. What will hap] What will, hap 
Theob. Warb. Johns. Jen. 

What. to-night,] What...:.Jo- 

nightt Cap. 

113. [Exit.] Om. Qq. 

Scene vii.] Scena Septima Ff (Sccena 
F a ). Scene vi. Rowe. Scene x. Pope +, 

Gloucester's castle.] Rowe. A 
Room in the Castle. Cap. 

Regan] and Regan, a'nd Q,. Om. 
F,F 4 . 

Edmund, and Servants.] Theob. 

Baftard, and Seruants. Ff. and Ballard. 


1. [To Goneril] Ed. Om. QqFf et cet. 

1-3. Two lines, the first ending Letter, 


3. traitor] villaine or vilaine Qq, Cap. 
MaL Steev. Bos. Gio. Wr. 

[Exeunt...] Cap. Om. QqFf. 
6-10. Leave..Jihe.] Four lines, Q,. 
7. revenges] reuenge Qq. 

now prevailing against thee shall, in consequence of 'just proof of thy integrity, 
revoke its erroneous sentence, and recall thee to honour and reconciliation. 

1 10. thoughts defile] For the sake of rhyme Theobald changed this to thought 
defiles; but Walker (Crit. i, 143), in his Article on 'occasional licenses of rhyme 
in Sh. and his contemporaries,' shows, by many instances, how common such an 
imperfect rhyme, as this, is. 

112. What] Abbott, § 254: Equivalent to whatever. The construction may be 
* Happen what will,' a comma being placed after ' will,' or ' Whatever is about to 
happen.' Probably the former is correct, and • will ' is emphatic, « hap • being optative. 

2. letter] Delius : The letter that Edmund gave to Cornwall in III, v, 8. 

6. displeasure] Collier (ed. 2) : The (MS) has disposure; but, though it may 
have been the actor's, or possibly the poet's, word, we make no alteration, the mean 
ing being evident. 

2 1 8 KING LEAR [act hi. sc. vjl 

Advise the duke, where you are going, to a most festinate 
preparation; we are bound to the like. Our posts shall 10 
be swift and intelligent betwixt us. — Farewell, dear sister. — 
Farewell, my lord of Gloucester. — {Enter Oswald.] How 
now, where's the king ? 

Ostv. My lord of Gloucester hath convey'd him hence. 
Some five or six and thirty of his knights, 15 

Hot questrists after him, met him at* gate; 
Who, with some other of the lord's dependants, 

9. Advise] Aduice F t . ard. Ff. After king? line 13, Qq. 
where] when Steev.*78, '85. *5-'9- Some,.. friends.] Prose, Qq. 
festinate] feftuant Qq. fe/liuateF t 1 6. questrists] queflrits Qq. questert 

10-12. Our.. .Gloucester.] Two lines. Pope, Han. 

Qq. after him] after Han. (misprint ?). 

10. posts] post Q,. poste Q,. at '] Ed. at QqFf et cet. 

11. and intelligent] and intelligence 17. lord's] Pope. Lords QqFf, Theob. 
Qq. in intelligence Cap. (withdrawn Warb. Johns. Dyce, Sta. Glo. + , Huds. 
in MS*). Sch. 

12. Enter Oswald.] Coll. Enter Stew- 

9. festinate] Capell: Speedy. Delius: Sh. uses ' festinately • as an affected 
word in Love's Lab. Ill, i, 6. Schmidt : Not elsewhere used by Sh. 

10. bound] Delius : This does not mean obliged, but rather ready t prepared. 
"Wright: As in Ham. I, v, 6: « Speak; I am bound to hear.' 

11. intelligent] See III, i, 25. 

12. Gloucester] Johnson: Meaning Edmund, newly invested with his father's 
titles. [See III, v, 14.] Oswald, speaking immediately after, mentions the old earl 
by the same title. 

16. questrists] Capell: An inquirer or quester; French, questeur. Heath: 
If we would read English, we must read questists. Eccles calls attention to a Dublin 
edition of Sh. published by Ewing, wherein Heath's conjecture is printed querist. 
"Wright : A word of Shakespeare's coinage. 

16. at' gate] The apostrophe indicates the absorption of the definite article. 
See II, ii, 116. — Ed. 

17. lord's dependants] Hudson: Some other of the dependant lords, or, as we 
should say, the lords dependant ; meaning lords of the king's retinue, and dependant 
on him. It is sometimes printed 'lord's dependants,' which gives a wrong sense, 
making the men in question Gloucester's dependants. [I fear I must dissent. In my 
opinion it is precisely Gloucester's dependants who are meant. We have heard ot 
no lords who were dependent on the king. He had certain knights, and of these 
five or six and thirty had come to seek him, and, under the guidance of some of 
Gloucester's followers, they had all hurried off to Dover If it were Lear's own 
knights and his own lords dependent who had him in charge, what do Cornwall 
and Regan mean by asking Gloucester to whom he had sent the lunatic king, and 
whither he had sent him ? I cannot but think that these questions must refer to 
Gloucester's agency in the matter implied by his having dispatched the king under 
the escort of some of his own followers. — Ed.] Schmidt says that they were 

act in, sc. vii.] KING LEAR 2 19 

Are gone with him toward Dover; where they boast 18 

To have well-armed friends. 

Corn. Get horses for your mistress. 

Gon. Farewell, sweet lord, and sister. 20 

Corn. Edmund, ferewell. — 

[Exeunt Goneril, Edmund, and Oswald. 
Go seek the traitor Gloucester. 

Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us. — 

[Exeunt other Servants. 

Though well we may not pass upon his life 

Without the form of justice, yet our power 

Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men 2$ 

May blame but not control. — Who 's there ? the traitor ? 

Enter Gloucester, brought in by two or thru. 

Reg. Ingrateful fox ! 'tis he. 
Corn. Bind fast his corky arms. 

18. toward] towards Qq, dp. Steev. 23. well] Om. Qq. 

Ec. Var. Coll. Del. Dyce ii, Wh. 25, 26. Shall.. J>lame] One line, Qq. 

19. well-armed] Hyphen. Pope. 25. courtesy] curte/U Qq. curt [fie 
[Exit Oswald. Sta. Ff+, Wh. 

21. [Exeunt...Oswald.] Dyce. Exit 26. Scene xi. Pope +, Jen. 
Gon. and Baft, (after line 20), Qq. Exit. Who's] WhofeQ^ 

(after line 20), Ff. Exeunt....5teward. Enter...three.] Qq. Enter Glou* 

(after line 20), Cap. ceiler, and Seruants. Ff. (after comp* 

22. [Exeunt other Servants.] Cap. troll), 
Om. QqFf. 

vassals of Cornwall who had declared for Lear and betaken themselves to the 
French army. 

23. pass upon] Johnson : That is, pass a judicial sentence. Steevens : The 
origin of the phrase may be traced to Magna Charta : ' nee super eum ibimus, nisi 
per legale judicium parium suorum.' It is common to most of our early writers. In 
If This be not a Good Play, the Devil is in it, 1 61 2, we have : ' A jury of brokers, 
impanel' d, and deeply sworn to passe .on all villains in hell.' Wright: In Sped- 
ding's Letters and Life of Bacon, ii, 283, there is a list of ' The Names of the Peers 
that passed upon the trial of the two Earls ' of Essex and Southampton. [It is still 
in every-day use at the Bar and among conveyancers. — Ed.] Moberly : Magna 
Charta prevailed, it appears, in England even in the days of Joash, king of Judah. 

25. courtesy] Johnson: That is, to gratify, to comply with. Steevens: I 
believe it means simply, bend to our wrath, as a courtesy is made by bending the 
body. Schmidt (Lex.) : That is, obey. Compare • Bidding the law make court'sy 
to their will/ Meas. for Afeas. II, iv, 175. Wright: To yield, give way to. Com- 
pare Hen. V : V, ii, 293 : ' nice customs curtsy to great kings.' 

2$. corky] Johnson : Dry, withered, husky. Percy : It was probably suggested 



[act III, sc. vii. 

Glou. What means your graces? Good my friends, 29 
You are my guests ; do me no foul play, friends. 30 

Corn. Bind him, I say. 

Reg. Hard, hard.— O filthy traitor ! 

Glou. Unmerciful lady as you are, I v m none. 

Corn. To this chair bind him. — Villain, thou shalt find — 

Glou. By the kind g ods, 'tis most ignobly done 
To pluck me by the beard 35 

Reg. So white, and such a traitor ! 

Glou. Naughty lady, 

These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin 
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host; 
With robbers* hands my hospitable favours 
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do ? 40 

20, 30. What...frieuds.] Three lines, 
the first two ending Graces f...Ghefts t in 

29. means] F,, Sch. meanes QqF s F a . 
mean F 4 et cet. 

friends'] friends [to the Ser. Cap. 
MS* (? after line 30). 

31. [They bind him. Rowe. 

32. I'm none"] Pme none F t . /me 
none F,. / am none Cap. Stccv. Ec. 
Var. Coll. Del. Wh. / am true Qq. 

33. Two lines, Ff. 

33. find—] Qq- /«*• F A- /**• 

[Regan plucks his beard.] Johns. 

34, 35. Prose, Qq. 

36, 37. Naughty... chin] One line, Qq. 

38. I am] I % m Pope+, Dyce ii. 

39. robbers'] Theob. ii. robbers QqF£ 
robber's Pope. 

favours] favour Han. Warb. 
Johns. Ktly. 

40. ruffle] ruffett Qq. 

do t] doe. Q r doe F t . do Fj. 

by a passage in Harsnet's Declaration : ' It would (I feare me) pose all the cunning 
Exorcists, that are this day to be found, to teach an old corkie woman to writhe, 
tumble, curuet, & fetch her Morice gamboies, as Martha Brossier did' [p. 23, 
according to Wright, from whom I have quoted it, as presumably more correct than 
Percy. — Ed.]. 

29. means] As Abbott, $335, says, a singular verb (or, more correctly, an 
apparently singular verb), when it precedes the plural subject, may almost be regarded 
as the normal inflection. See Macb. II. iii, 137 ; Ham. Ill, iv, 202, and the numerous 
examples collected by Abbott. 

34. kind gods] Warburton, with superfluous refinement, supposed that the dii 
hospitales were here alluded to. Capell agrees with him. 

39. hospitable favours] Both Jennens and Capell think that ' favours' refers 
to Gloucester's silver hairs. But Steevens shows that it means the ' features, 1. e. the 
different parts of which a face is composed. So in Drayton's epistle from Matilda 
to King John [p. 87, ed. 1748.] : " Within the compass of man's face we see, How 
many sorts of several favours be." ' Schmidt (Lex.) gives from 1 Hen. IV: III. ii, 
136 : * And stain my favours in a bloody mask.' 

ACT in, SC. vii.] 



Corn. Come, sir, what letters had you late from France ? 41 

Reg. Be simple-answer'd, for we know the truth. 

Corn. And what confederacy have you with the traitors 
Late footed in the kingdom ? 

Reg. To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king ? 45 

Glou. I have a letter guessingly set down, 
Which came from one that's of a neutral heart 
And not from one opposed. 

Corn* Cunning. 

Reg. And false. 

Corn. Where hast thou sent the king ? 

Glou. To Dover. 50 

Reg. Wherefore to Dover ? Wast thou not charged at 
peril — 

Corn. Wherefore to Dover? — Let him answer that 

Glou. I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course. 

Reg. Wherefore to Dover ? 

Glou. Because I would not see thy cruel nails 55 

Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister 
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs. 
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head 

41. Come, sir,"] Separate line, Ff. 

42. simple-answer' 'd] Han. ftmple 
anfwer'd Ff, Rowe, Sing, fimple an* 
fwerer Qq, Glo.+, Mob. 

43, 44. And what. ..kingdom ?] Rowe. 
Prose, QqFf. 

44. Late] lately Q,. 

45,46. To. ..Speak.] Han. One line, Qq, 
Ktly. Two, the first ending hands, Ff, Sch. 

4$. have you sent] you haue/ent Q g , 
Ff, Rowe, Sch. 

47. I have"] rve Han. 

49. Cunning.] Cunning— Rowe+, 

50. Dover] Dover, sir Han. 

$i. Two lines, Ff, Rowe, Cap. Jen. 

to Dover ?... peril] One line, Steev. 
Bos. Coil. Wh. 

peril— ] perill. F t F,F s . peril? 
F 4 , Rowe, Cap. thy peril Steev. 

52. answer] firft anfwer Qq. Theob. 
Warb. Johns. Cap. Jen. Sta. Glo.+. 

53. Two lines, Ff. 

$4. Dover?] Dover, Jir Qq, Jen. 
Glo. + , Mob. 

57. anointed] aurynted Q r 

stick] ra/h Qq, Coll. Sing. Ktly. 

58. as his bare] on his lowd Q,. of 
his lou'd Q.. 

$3. course] See Afacb. V, vii, 1, 2. 

57. stick] Steevens: Rash of the Qq is the old hunting term for the stroke 
made by a wild boar with his tusks. It occurs in Spenser, Faerie Queene, b. IV, 
c. ii : ' And shields did share, and mailes did rash, and helmes did hew.' Again in 
b. V, c. iii : • Rashing off helmes, and ryving plates asunder.' Dyce (Remarks, Sec. 
p. 229) quotes the following note by Gxfford : < To rash (a verb which we have 



f act in, sc. vii. 

In hell-black night endured, would have buoy'd up, 
And quench'd the steiled fires ; 
| Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain. 
If wolves had at thy gate howl'd that stern time, 
Thou shouldst have said : ' Good porter, turn the key, 
All cruels else subscribe/ But I shall see 


59. hell-black night] Pope. Hell- 
blacke-night Ff. hell blacke night Qq. 

bua/d] bod Q x . . laid Q^ boil y d 
Warb. Coll. (MS), Quincy (MS). 

60, 61. And. ..hearty One line, Qq. 

6a steUed]fieeled QJQj Rowe, Pope, 
stellar Han. Jen. Ec. 

61. holp] holpt Qq, Jen. helfd 

rain] rage Qq, Cap. 

62. howVd that stern] heard that 
dearne Qq. howVd that dearn Cap. 
Sing. Ktly. 

63. ' Good.. .key] As a quotation, Johns, 
and all edd. since. 

63, 64. < Good. ..subscribe'] As a quo* 
tation, Ed. 

63. Good] go, Theob. ii, Warb. Johns. 

64. subscribe] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 
Jen. Sch. fubfcrWd Qq et cet 

improvidently suffered to grow obsolete) is to strike obliquely with violence, as a 
wild boar does with his tusk. It is observable with what accuracy Sh. has corrected 
the old Quarto of King Lear, where, instead of rash, he has properly given 'stick.'-— 
Note on ' Sir, I mist my purpose in his arm, rash'd his doublet sleeve/ &c. — Jonson'i 
Every Man Out of his Humour* IV, iv. Walker (Crit. hi, 280) cites from Chap- 
man's Iliad, V, p. 63 [old fol.] : ' Then rush'd he out a lance at him,' &c. Lsttsoic 
in a foot-note says : * Gifford speaks of Shakespeare's correcting the Quarto, as if that 
were an ascertained fact, whereas it is only the doubtful supposition of certain editors. 
Chapman's rush seems only another form of rash. Both seem applied to the weapon 
inflicting the injury.' 

59. hell-black] Capell: This bold epithet is deriv'd probably from Hakluyt, 
who in his third volume, p. 849, has the compound ' hell-darke.' [Is it not high 
time that we should desist from our groundless admiration of a plagiarist like Shake- 
speare ? — Ed.] 

59. buoy*d up] Heath : Used here as the middle voice in Greek, signifying 
to buoy, or lift, itself up. White considers 'boil'd' a very plausible reading. 
Schmidt : The verb is found in Sh. only here ; the noun, in its ordinary significa- 
tion, only in IV, vi, 19. The verb is here transitive, and the phrase means: the 
sea would have lifted up the fixed fires and extinguished them. 

60. steiled] Theobald: An adjective coined from stella. In Latin we have 
poth stellans and stellatus. Schmidt : But Sh. uses a verb to stell, i. e. to place, to 
fix : ' Mine eye hath played the painter, and hath stell'd Thy beauty's form in 
table of my heart.' — Son. xxiv. [So also ' To this well-painted piece is Lucrece 
come, To find a face where all distress is stellM.' — R. of L. 1444. — Ed.] 

62. stern] Steevens : Dearne of the Qq means lonely, solitary, obscure, melan- 
choly, &c. See Per. Ill, i, 15. 'Stern,' however, is countenanced by a passage 
in Chapman's Homer, Iliad, xxiv : ' In this so sterne a time Of night and danger.* 
Collier suggests that dearn was Shakespeare's word, but was misheard ' stern.' 

64. cruels else subscribe] Johnson : Yielded, submitted to the necessity of the 
occasion. Heath : That is, submitted their cruelty to the compassion they felt »r 

act in, sc. vii.] KING LEAR 223 

[64. All cruels else subscribe] 

the sight of his wretchedness. Capell : That is, subscrib'd to pity, snbscrib'd or 
assented to it's being exercis'd here. Collier, Dyce, and Singer adopt Johnson's 
interpretation. Knight, Staunton, and White are silent. Cowden Clarke says 

• cruels' is used for cruelties, as does also Wright, who refers to Abbott, §9, 
for adjectives used as nouns. Abbott, §433,: That is, • All cruel acts to the con- 
trary being yielded up, forgiven.' Compare for the meaning, IV, vii, 36, and For 
4 subscribe,' Tro. and Cress. IV, v, 105. Another explanation is, ' all other cruel 
animals being allowed entrance. 1 Jervis (p. 23) conjectures quarrels. Moberly : 
All harshness otherwise natural being forborne or yielded from the necessity of the 
time. Schmidt: 'AH cruels 1 can mean nothing else but all cruel creatures. In 
turning adjectives into nouns, the old language went very far, but in no instance 
farther than Sh. went in this phrase. In the singular, ' cruel ' is found in Son. 
cxlix : « Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not ? ' The examples adduced by Abbott 
refer also to the singular. At all events it is proved by them (as well as by the 
passages cited in the present writer's Lexicon, p. 14 1 5) that the cruel, as a sub- 
stantive, can only mean the cruel person or thing, not cruelty; as little can the old 
mean old age, or the young mean youth. All interpretations, therefore, which involve 
this abstract idea are inadmissible. Even .those editors who interpret 'cruels' cor- 
rectly adopt subscribed of the Qq, and hold it to be the imperfect tense. It is far 
better to follow the Folio and to interpret the sentence thus : ' Everything, which is at 
other times cruel, shows feeling or regard ; you alone have not done so.' Sh. uses 
the phrase to subscribe to something in the sense of declaring one's self conquered 
by something, of yielding, complying. It is used exactly in the same sense as here, 
in Tro. and Cress. IV, v, 105 : ' For Hector in his blaze of wrath subscribes To 
tender objects,' that is, Hector yields if he is brought face to face with anything 
touching or tender ; he is sensible to tender impressions. [This is to me the most 
puzzling phrase in this play, more puzzling even than 'runaways' eyes' or 'the 
dram of eale ' ; the multitude df emendations proposed for these latter show how easily 
the idea of the phrase is grasped ; anybody, and everybody, is ready with an emenda- 
tion there ; here it is different. None of the interpretations are, to my mind, satis- 
factory. The latest, Mr Joseph Crosby's (Epitome of Lit. , 1 June, 1879), refers 

• cruels ' to feelings, (which is, to me, ' far wide,') and emphasizes • else.' He thus 
paraphrases : « All thy feelings, no matter how cruel or inhuman " else," i, e. at any 
other time, or under any other circumstances, having " subscribed," 1. e. succumbed, 
to the terrors of that storm, and yielded to the pity for the old king, thy father.' In 
a case as puzzling as this, anything, as Dr Johnson says elsewhere, may be tried; my 
attempt is seen in the text. Not unnaturally, I think it is the true reading ; it adheres 
to the venerable authority of the First Folio, making ' subscribe ' an imperative like 

• turn.' The drift of the whole passage is the contrast between the treatment which 
Regan's father had received and that which would have been dealt, in that stern time, 
to wolves and other animals, howsoever cruel. 'Thou shouldst have said: Good 
porter, open the gates, acknowledge the claims of all creatures, however cruel they 
may be at other times ; • or, perhaps : • open the gates ; give up all cruel things else,' 
i. e. forget that they are cruel. As in I, ii, 24, Lear ' subscribed ' his powers, so here 
the porter should 'subscribe all cruels,' 1. e. he should surrender, yield, give up what* 
joever was cruel in the poor beasts, and see only their claim to his compassion. An 
exactly parallel use of ' subscribe ' cannot perhaps be found in Sh. ; and if this be 

224 KING LEAR [act in, sc. vii 

The winged vengeance overtake such children. 65 

Corn. See 't shalt thou never I — Fellows, hold the chair !— 
Upon these eyes of thine I '11 set my foot 

67. these] thofe Qq, Jen. Gloster is held down in his Chair, while 

[Gloster is held down while Corn- Corawal plucks out one his Eyes, and 
wall treads out one of his Eyes. Rowe. stamps on it. Cap. 

deemed fatal to my interpretation, I can only express my regret, and meekly suggest 
that the present instance may be a hapax legomenon, — Ed.] 

66. Cafell: The barbarity exercis'd upon Gloucester is indeed a part of the story 
that was the source of this episode, for that ' Paphlagonian king's' eyes were put out 
by a son ; but the putting-out of poor Gloucester's seems to be more immediately 
copy'd from Selimus. Steeveks : In Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, one of the 
sons of Bajazet pulls out the eyes of an Aga on the stage, and says : * Yes thou shalt 
live, but never see that day, Wanting the tapers that should give thee light [Pulls 
out his eyes* Immediately after, his hands are cut off. I have introduced this 
passage to show that Shakespeare's drama was not more sanguinary than that of his 
contemporaries. Malone: In Marston's Antonio* s Revenge, 1602, Piero's tongue is 
torn out on the stage. Da vies (Dram, Misc. ii, 197) : After all, Sh. might possibly 
contrive not to execute this horrible deed upon the stage, though it is so quoted in 
the book. ... At the present, the sufferer is forced into some adjoining room; and 
the ears of the audience are more hurt by his cries than their eyes can be when he 
is afterwards led on the stage. The gold-beaters' skin, applied to the sockets, as if to 
staunch the bleeding, abates something perhaps of the hideousness of the spectacle. 
Coleridge : ' What can I say of this scene ? — There is my reluctance to think Shake- 
speare wrong, and yet .' Elsewhere Coleridge says : - 1 will not disguise my 

conviction that in this one point the tragic in this play has been urged beyond the 
outermost mark and ne plus ultra of the dramatic.' TlECK (vol. ix, p. 368, ed. 
1833) 1 This scene, which is manifestly too horrible, and shocks our very senses, is 
rendered still worse by the explanation and the scenery that are intruded. Almost 
always when, now-a-days, such a scenic representation is attempted, false methods 
are employed, because the architecture and arrangements of the old theatre are not 
kept in mind, but confounded with our modern constructions. . . . The chair, in which 
Gloster is bound, is the same from which, elevated in the centre of the scene, Lear 
£rst speaks.> This lesser stage, in the centre, when not used was hidden by a cur- 
tain, that was drawn aside whenever it was necessary. Thus Sh., like all the dra- 
matists of the time, often had two scenes at once. The nobles in Henry VIII are 
standing in the ante-chamber, the curtain is drawn, and we are directly in the chamber 
of the king. So also, when Cranmer has to wait in the ante-chamber, the council 
room opens. Thus there was this advantage, that through the pillars, which sep- 
arated this little stage in the centre from the proscenium or stage proper, there could 
be represented not only a double action, but also at the same time it might be half or 
partly hidden, and so two scenes might be represented which were perfectly intelligible, 
although not everything on the lesser stage was visible. Thus Gloster sate, probably 
out of sight, while Cornwall, near him, was seen, Regan standing in the fore-stage* 
lower than Cornwall, but close by him, with the attendants on the stage itself. Corn- 
wall, horribly enough, tears out Gloster' s eye, but the act is not positively seen; some 

ACT I n. sc. vii.] KING LEAR 225 

[66. The blinding of Gloucester.] 

of the servants, holding the chair, stand in the way, and the curtain on one side (for 
it was divided into two) was drawn before the spectator. The expression that Corn* 
wall uses, ' Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot,' is not to be taken literally; it 
certainly is not so intended. During the speech of Cornwall's, one of the servants 
rashes up to the higher stage and wounds him; Regan, who is below, snatches a sword 
from another attendant and stabs the servant from behind. The groups are all in 
motion, and, while attention is distracted, Gloster loses his other eye. His cry is 
heard, but he is not seen. He disappears, for there was egress from the lesser stage 
also. Cornwall and Regan come forward and retire by the side scene, and the scene 
ends with the talk of some of the attendants. It is in this way, which some- 
what lessens its horror, that the scene pictures itself to my mind. The Poet 
trusted, indeed, to the strong minds of his friends who were to be so much moved by 
the general horrors of the representation, as not to linger over the bloody particulars. 
Ulrici (p. 458) : To have the scene where Cornwall puts out Gloster's eyes repre- 
sented directly on the stage, can only arouse a feeling of disgust, which has nothing 
in common with the idea of beauty, nor with that of grandeur, power, or sublimity, 
and which, consequently, can only impair the effect of the tragedy. Whether or not 
the nerves of Shakespeare's public may have been of a stronger fibre than those of 
the present generation, — it is not the business of art to consider strong or weak nerves, 
but to aim only at the strengthening, the refreshing, and elevating of the mind and 
feelings, and such scenes do not effect this even in the case of the strongest nerves. 
Heraud (Inner Life of Sh. p. 304) : In this scene Pity and Terror, the especial 
elements of the Tragic, are urged to their utmost limits. Of course there was danger 
of excess. But Sh. was on his guard. He might have justified the act by the sup- 
posed barbarity of the legendary age whose manners he was tracing, and urged 
that their familiarity with such acts prevented the actors in them from recognising 
the horrible. No such thing. By inserting in the group a servant who did recognise 
its intrinsic horror, and compassionated the sufferer, he converted disgust into pity 
The other servants also compassionate the blind old man, and lead him out to help 
him, to heal his wounds, and to place him in safe custody. The entire current of 
feeling is turned in the direction of pity by the force of sympathy. Thus the horroi 
in the * horrid act ' is mitigated, and reduced to the level of terror, which feeling is 
enforced by * the fearful looking-for' of a coming vengeance, of which an instalment 
is secured even in the moment of crime. And this sentiment, too, is expressed by 
the servants who act as chorus to the scene. W. W. Lloyd : The horrors, like the 
indelicacies that are met with in Shakespeare's plays, arc never admitted for their 
own sakes, never but when absolutely indispensable for his great aim and purpose, 
the defining of character, and that complete exhibition of nature with which,— 
recognising in art the same rigour that is challenged by science, — he allowed nothing 
to interfere. The mere convenience of stage-management, it might be said, would 
dictate that Gloucester should sit in the chair with his back to the audience, and it 
is not even then very apparent why the deed of mutilation should be so much more 
shocking than the smothering and the death agonies of Desdemona ; it is not worth 
denying, however, that if only by usage of theatrical associations it would be so, 
and if, as I believe, the painfulness and the horror would not be utterly insupportable, 
it must be from a different cause. The cruel act is revolting to think of, and much 

more to behold, and yet is the revolting cruelty less heinous than the treatment of 




[act hi, sc vil. 


Glou. He that will think to live till he be old, 68 

Give me some help ! — O cruel ! O you gods ! 

Reg. One side will mock another; th* other too. 70 

Corn. If you see vengeance — 

First Serv. Hold your hand, my lord 1 

I have served you ever since I was a child ; 
But better service have I never done you 
Than now to bid you hold. 

Reg. How now, you « dog ? 

First Serv. If you did wear a beard upon your chin. 75 

1'ld shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean ? 

Corn. My villain ? \They draw and fight. 

68. old,] old Q, . old— Q,. 

69. help I] help.— T v help,— F,F S F 4 . 

you] Ff + , Dyce, Sta. Glo. + , Sch. 
ye Qq et cet. 

70. th' other too] tother to Qq. 

71. vengeance — ] vengeance* Ff.' 
First Serv.] I. S. Cap. Seruant. 

Qq. Seru. Ff. 

lord f] Lord Q x . Lord,Q a . Lord: 

F t . lord?FJF % F 4 . 

72. / have] Pve Pope+, Dyce ii, 

you] Om. Q t . 

73» 74- But...hold.] One line, Qq. 

75» 7 6 « Jf»*mean ?] Prose, Qq. 

76. 0* Mw] in this Cap. conj. 

77. [They draw...] Draw and fight. 
Qq. Om. Ff. Fight, in the scuffle Corn- 
wall is wounded. Rowe+. 

Lear, though there the physical injury was comparatively slight, — the exposure of age 
and weakness to a pitiless storm, — and in itself, however well the storm might be 
imitated, less harrowing to the feelings. But Sh. evidently relied upon the response 
of the sympathies of his audience to the appeal of his art, and he had confidence in 
his power to depict the mental anguish, and sufferings, and injuries of the king with 
such force that no inferior infliction could supersede it in our interest. If the heart 
is touched as it should be by the great scene of the storm, and then by the pitiable 
spectacle of the wit-wrecked monarch in the indoors scene, mingling the fantastic 
freaks of lunacy with the majesty of sorrow, we shall be aware that the mere narra- 
tion of any physical suffering or cruelty whatever must have failed to rouse another 
start of indignation. To any other excitement the sensibilities might well seem 
lulled or scared, and the exhibition of the act was therefore necessary if it was to 
take place at all, and was therefore possible ; and the poet daringly and successfully 
availed himself of the opportunity to cast the last disgrace upon filial ingratitude, by 
exposing its surpassing hatefulness in comparison with the direst crime, acted under 
our eyes with every detail of horror. 

76. quarrel] Delius explains this as referring to Regan's having called him a ' dog.' 

76. What . . . mean] Should not this be given to Cornwall ? I doubt Delius's 
explanation of ' quarrel.' — Ed. 

77. villain] Steevens: Here used in its original sense of one in servitude. 
Moberly : As a villain could hold no property but by his master's sufferance, had 
no legal rights as against his lord, and was (perhaps) incapable of bearing witness 
against freemen, that one should raise his sword against his master would be un- 

act m, sc. viL] 



First Serv. Nay, then, come on, and take the chance of 78 

Reg. Give me thy sword — A peasant stand up thus ? 

[Takes a sward and runs at him behind. 
First Serv. Oh, I am slain! — My lord, you have one eye 

left 80 

To see some mischief on him. — Oh ! [Die s. 

Corn. Lest it see more, prevent it — Out, vilde jelly I 
Where is thy lustre now ? 

Clou. AH dark and comfortless. Where's my son Ed- 
mund ?— 
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature, 85 

To quit this horrid aft ! 

Reg. Out, treacherous villain ! 

Thou call'st on him that hates thee ; it was he 
That made the overture of thy treasons to us ; 

78. Nay] Why Qq, Jen. 

79. Reg.] Reg. [to another servant 
Johns. Jen. 

thus?] thus. Qq. 

Takes...] She takes... Qq. Killes 
him. Ff. Snatches a Sword from an 
Att : and stabs him. Cap. 

80,81. Oh...Ohf] Prose, Qq. 

80. slain / My lord,] Jlaine: my 
Lord, Ff. Jlaine my Lord, Qq. 

you have] yet haue you Qq, Jen. 
Mai Ec. yet you have Steev. '85. 

81. him] them Dyce ii, Huds. 'em 
Dyce i, conj. 

[Dies.] He dies. Q,. Om. Q,Ff. 

82. vilde] Q a F I F i , Jen. Del, L vild 
Q I F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Sch. vile Pope et cet 

83. [Treads out the other Eye. Rowe + • 
Dashing Gloster's other Eye to the 
Ground. Cap. 

84. Two lines, in Ff. 
comfortless.] com/ortles, Qq. com' 

fortleffe t Ff. comfortless — Rowe + , Jen. 

85. 86. Edmund.] Prose, Qq. 
85. enkindle] vnbtidle Qq* 
86-89. OuL.Jhee.] Prose, Qq. 
S6. treacherous] Om. Qq. 

88. overture} derture Walker (CriL 

heard-of presumption, for which any punishment would be admissible. The lord's 
making war against his superior lord would entail no such consequences. Schmidt 
says the stress should be laid on ' My* 

79. Give • • • sword] Collier : This may have been addressed to the wounded 

Si. on him] Dyce: The servant is evidently speaking of Cornwall and Regan; 
and them (and 'em) [see Textual Notes] are often confounded with ' him ' by tran- 
scribers and printers ; so afterwards, V, iii, 278, the Folio has erroneously * I would 
have made him (the Qq rightly 'them') skip/ &c. And compare what the othet 
servants say at the close of the present scene, ' If this man come to good ' — < If she 
live long,' &c. [I am afraid Dyce would have been severe on any editor who had ven- 
tured to make such a change. What ' mischief ' had the Servant done on Regan ? — Ed.] 

88. overture] M alone: The opening or discovery. 



[act hi, sc. viL 


Who is too good to pity thee. 

Clou. Oh, my follies ! Then Edgar was abused. go 

Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him ! 

Reg. Go thrust him out at ' gates, and let him smell 
His way to Dover. — {Exit one with Gloucester."] How is 't, 
my lord ? how look you ? 

Corn . I have received a hurt ; follow me, lady. — 
Turn out that eyeless villain ; throw this slave 95 

Upon the dunghill. — Regan, I bleed apace ; 
Untimely comes this hurt - Give me your arm. 

[Exit Cornwall \ led by Regan. 

* Sec. Serv. I '11 never care what wickedness I do, 

* If this man come to good. 

* Third Serv. If she live long, 

* And in the end meet the old course of death, IOO 

* Women will all turn monsters. 

89-93. f\ Five lines, end- 
ing follies f...forgive...out... Dover. f 
Pope+, Jen. 

90. Then. ..abused."] Separate line, Cap. 
Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Del. Sing. Dyce, 
Ktly, Sch. 

92, 93. Go... you f] As in Cap. Three 
lines, ending fmell... Doner. t Ff. 
Prose, Qq. 

92. at ' gates] Ed. At th* gates Han. 
at gates QqFf et cet. 

93. [Exit...] Exit with Gloufler. Ff. 
Om. Qq. 

look] do Jen. 


95-97. Lines end vpon...vntimely, 
arme. Qq. 

96. dunghilt] dungell Q g . 

97. [Exit...] Theob. Exit. Qq. Ex- 
eunt. Ff. Exeunt Cornwal, and Regan. 
Servants unbind Gloster, and lead him 
out. Cap. 

98-106. Om. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 

98. Sec. Serv.] 2. S. Cap. Seruant. 
Qq. 1st Serv. Theob. 

99. Third Serv.] 3. S. Cap. 2. Seruant 

99-101. Jf ...monsters.] As in Theob. 
Prose, Qq. 

90. Oh] For instances of monosyllabic exclamations taking the place of a foot, see 
IV, ii, 26, or Abbott, § 482. Wright : Gloucester's last comfort fails him when his 
physical sufferings are greatest. [' Sign-post criticism ' ? — JED.] 

93. look you] Jennens [see Textual Notes] : She could never ask how he look'dc 
she saw that. Eccles : * How look you* is how you look* 

98, &c. Theobald : This short dialogue is full of nature. Servants, in any house, 
could hardly see such a barbarity committed on their master without reflections of 
pity. Johnson: It is not necessary to suppose them servants of Gloucester, for 
Cornwall was opposed to extremity by his own servant. 

100. old course] Malone : That is, die a natural death. Wordsworth (SA. 
Knowledge and Use of the Bible, p. 72, ed. ii) : We find the same idea in the mouth 
of Moses with reference to the fate of the rebels Korah and his company : ' If these 
men die the common death of all men.' &c. — Numb, xvi, 29. 

ACT m. sc. viL] KING LEAR 2*9 

* Sec. Serv. Let's follow the old earl, and get the Bedlam 102 

* To lead him where he would ; his roguish madness 

* Allows itself to any thing. 

* Third Serv. Go thou, I'll fetch some flax and whites 

of eggs 105 

i * To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him I 

[Exeunt severally. * 

102. Sec. Serv.] 2. S. Cap. X Ser.Qq. 106. To.. Ms] T apply to's Theob. 

Bedlam] bedlom Q,. Warb. Johns. Jens. To apply to*s Sta. 

X03. roguish] Om. Q,. T 9 apply to his Dyce ii. 

105. Third Serv.] 3. S. Cap. 2 Ser, [Exeunt severally.] Theob. Exit. 

Qq. Qq. 
105, 106. As in Theob. Prose, Qq. 

X02. Bedlam] Eccles doubts if this refer to Edgar, who had assumed his dis- 
guise but the preceding evening. He therefore supposes that it was some genuine 
Bedlam who frequented the neighborhood. Possibly, he thinks, it may after all be 
Edgar, who had been seen in Gloucester's company. At any rate, he concludes, the 
servant does not succeed in his intention, since the meeting between Gloucester and 
his son afterwards, appears to be the result of accident. 

105. flax and whites of eggs] Steevens : This passage is ridiculed by Jonson 
in The Case is Altered, 1609, II, iv. Malone : The Case is Altered was written 
before the end of the year 1599, but Jonson might have inserted this sneer at our 
author between the time of Lear's appearance and the publication of his own play 
in 1609. [Of course this attack on Jonson aroused all Gifford's bitterness, and in 
a note on the passage in The Case is Altered, after quoting these notes by Steevens 
and Malone just given, he says : ' Malone exposes Steevens's dishonesty with respect 
to the priority of the present drama, but, unwilling to lose a charge against Jonson, 
seeks to bolster up his crazy accusation by a supposition as full of malice as the 
other is of falsehood. • . . And all this grovelling in baseness (for it is no better) io 
founded on a harmless allusion to a method of cure common, in Jonson's time, to 
every barber-surgeon and old woman in the kingdom.' Boswell, Malone's cordial 
friend, says plaintively : ' I wish Gifford had not expressed his dissent in such strong 
language.'— Ed.] 

230 KING LEAR [act xv, sc t 


Scene I. The heath. 

Enter Edgar. 

Edg. Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd, 
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd To be worst, 
The lowest and most deje&ed thing of fortune, 
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear. 
The lamentable change is from the best ; $ 

The worst returns to laughter. Welcome then, 
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace ! 

The heath.] Cap. An open Country. worft : Ff, Rowe. 
Rowe. 3, oik/] Om. Pope+, Cap. 

Act IV Scene I.] Actus Quartus. defeded] defecl F a F 9 F 4 , Rowe, 

Scena Prima. Ff (Scaena F a ). 4. esperance] experience Qq. 

2. fatter' d. To be worst,] Pope, flat- 6. laughter?] laughter, Qq. 

tered to be worft, Qq. flattered, to be 6-9. Welcome. ..But] Om. Qq. 

X. Yet . • • and known] Johnson : The meaning is, ' 'Tis better to be thus con* 
temned and known to yourself to be contemned? Or, perhaps, there is an error, 
which may be rectified thus : ' Yet better thus unknown to be contemned.' When 
a man divests himself of his real character he feels no pain from contempt, because 
he supposes it incurred only by a voluntary disguise which he can throw off at 
pleasure. I do not think any correction necessary. Sir Joshua Reynolds : The 
meaning seems to be this : * Yet it is better to be thus in this fixed and acknowledged 
contemptible state, than, living in affluence, to be flattered and despised at the same 
time.' He who is placed in the worst and lowest state has this advantage : he lives 
in hope, and not in fear, of a reverse of fortune. The lamentable change is from 
affluence to beggary. He laughs at the idea of changing for the worse who is 
already as low as possible. Collier : ' Unknown/ which is from the (MS), accords 
with Johnson's suggestion, and is certainly right. ' Yes ' for Yet may be doubted, 
but we feel authorized to insert it by the excellence of the ensuing, and more im- 
portant emendation. Edgar enters, giving his assent to some proposition he has 
stated to himself before he came upon the stage. Singer (in N. 6V Qu. 1 Ser. vi, 
6, 1852) expressed his approval of Johnson's emendation, but afterwards, in his ed. 
2, withdrew it. Schmidt : * Known to be contemned ' means here conscious of, and 
familiar with, contempt 

2. worst] Tyrwhitt, adopting Johnson's emendation, thought this line should 
read : ' Than still contemned and flatter' d to be worse.' 

3. dejected thing] Wright: That is, thing dejected by fortune. For this posi- 
tion of the participle, see Abbott, §419* [or Walker, Crit. i, 160]. 

ACT IV, SC. i.] 




The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst 
Owes nothing to thy blasts. — But who comes here ? 

Enter Gloucester, led by an Old Man. 

My father, poorly led ? — World, world, O world I 
But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee, 
Life would not yield to age. 

Old Man. O my good lord, 

I have been your tenant, and your father's tenant, 
These fourscore years. 


9. thy] my Rowe. 

who.. .here?"] Who's here, Qq. 

9, 10. But... world /] Divided as in 
Pope. Two lines, the first ending ledf 
Ff. One line, Qq. 

9. Enter Gloucester, led by an Old 
Man.] After age % line 12, Qq; after 
blajls, line 9, FJ^. Enter Gloufter, and 
an Oldman. F f F, (after blajls). 

10. poorly led?] parti, eyd,^. poorely 



12. Life would not] Life would ill 
or Loath should we or Life would not 
but relu/lant Han, conj. MS.* 

12, 14. O.... years'] As in Johns. Jen. 
Ec Walker, Ktly, Dyce ii. Two lines, 
the first ending your Tenant, in Ff. 
Prose, Qq et cet 

14. these fourscore years'] this fore* 
feore— Q,. this fourefcore— Q^# 

9. Owes nothing] Hudson: They have done their worst upon him, and so 
absolved him from all obligations of gratitude. 

io, 12. World . . . age] Theobald (Sh. Rest. p. 172) : My late ingenious friend* 
Dr Sewell, gave me this conjecture, ' make us bate thee/ i. t. if the many changes 
in life did not induce us to abate from, and make allowances for, some of the bad 
casualties, we should never endure to live to old age. My explanation is : If the 
number of changes and vicissitudes which happen in life did not make us wait, and 
hope for some turn of fortune for the better, we could never support the thought of 
living to be old on any other terms. [He reads, therefore, 'make as wait thee.'] 
Capell [adopting Theobald's wait]: Life has often such evils, and man sees 
himself in such situations, that nothing bat the hopes of their changing, that 
' esperance ' which Edgar talks of before, prevents his putting an end to, it at any 
part of it's course, and before age; he would not stay to see age, age would not be 
his finisher. Malone : O world 1 if reverses of fortune and changes such as I now 
see and feel, from ease and affluence to poverty and misery, did not show as the 
little value of life, we should never submit with any kind of resignation to the 
weight of years, and its necessary consequence, infirmity and death. 

11. hate] Nichols (Motes, &c., .No. 2, p. 6) finds here a confirmation of his 
belief that * hatred is a conservative passion, and supplies us with powers of endur- 
ance little short of those supplied by piety itself/ and announces that Shakespeare 
herein shows himself ' to have been no mean psychologist.' 

14. tenant] Cowden Clarke: We imagine the old man who here speaks to be 
the occupant of the farm-house in which Gloucester placed Lear for shelter, and that 
the servants who propose to ' get the Bedlam to lead the old earl/ not finding the 
supposed beggar, have left the blind nobleman in charge of his faithful tenant 

232 KING LEAR [ 

Glou. Away, get thee away; good friebd, be gone; 15 

Thy comforts can do me no good at all ; 
Thee they may hurt 

Old Man. You cannot see your way. 

Glou. I have no way and therefore want no eyes ; 
I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen, 
Our means secure us, and our mere defe&s 20 

18. You] Alack fir, you Qq, Jen. fecure QqF,^ Our mean secure* 
Sceev. Ec. Var. Coll. Wh. Ktly, Glo+. Pope +, Cap. Steer. MaL Ec. Coil. Out 
20. Our means secure] Our meanes harms secure Jervis. 

20. means secure us] Warburton : That is, oar moderate, mediocre condition. 
Jennens : • Means ' may perhaps be understood to be mean things (using the adjec 
tive substantively), i. e. adversa res. Capell : Mean is mean or middle condition ; 
and the maxim seems to arise from this reflection in Gloucester, — that, had he been 
a man in that station, he had 'scap'd these calamities ; his « defects ' (his want of 
fortune and title) had screened him from the machinations of wickedness, and so 
prov'd his commodities. Knight [the 6rst, I think, to give .the true interpretation] : 
' Means ' is here used only in the common sense of resources, powers, capacities. 
The means, such as we possess, are our securities, and further, our mere defects 
prove advantages. Rankin (Philosophhy ofSh., 1S41, p. 178) : Our abilities and 
powers make us rash and unwary. Delius agrees substantially with Knight. F. W. J. 
(N. 6* Qu. t x Ser. viii, 4, 1853) [following Knight's interpretation, paraphrases] : 
4 When I had eyes I walked carelessly ; when I had the " means " of seeing and 
avoiding stumbling-blocks, I stumbled and fell, because I walked without care and 
watchfulness. Our deficiencies, our weaknesses (the sense of them), make us use 
such, care and exertions as to prove advantages to us.' As parallel, the following 
passages in the Bible are cited : I Cor.*x, 12; Ps. x, 6; 2 Cor. xii, 9, 16. Also, 

* Secure thy heart.' — Ttmon II, ii, 184. [The following excellent illustration is 
given] : ' The means of the hare (i. e. her swiftness) secured her; the defects of the 
tortoise (her slowness) proved her commodity.' To the same effect Wordsworth 
(Sh. Knowledge of the Bible, 248) : ' Means/ in Gloucester's case, is his sight. 
W. R. Arrowsmith (AT. 6* Qu. t 1 Ser. xii, p. 1855) contends that 'means' here 
bears the same meaning that it does in common parlance. * If man's power were 
equal to his will, into what excesses might he not be betrayed, ruinous to himself, as 
well as hurtful to others ; but happily for him an over-ruling Providence so orders 
matters that man's means, his circumscribed and limited means, become his security, 
keep him safe.' White: 'Secure' here means to render careless, — a radical 
sense, — as it does in Tim on, II, ii, 184, H ALU well: The term 'means' is here 
used for the want of means, the low state of our means. This usage is not unusual 
in writers of the time. Wright ; Things we think meanly of, our mean or moderate 
condition, are our security. Although as an adjective ' secure ' often means ' carer 
less,' I know of no instance of the verb meaning ' to render careless.' Moberly : 

* Secure us ' means ' make us over-secure,' as we have ' a secure fool,' ' not jealous 
nor secure/ &c. &c. The antithesis then becomes ' while we are made careless by 
the advantages on which we reckoned, we are saved by something which seemed a 
weak point.' The allusion may be to the fable of the stag, endangered by the horns 

ACT iv, sc. i.] KING LEAR 233 

Prove our commodities. — Oh, dear son Edgar, 21 

The food of thy abused father's wrath, 
Might I but live to see thee in my touch, 

21. Oh] Ff+, Dyce, Sta. Sch. ah Qq et cet 

which he admired, and saved by the legs which he despised. Schmidt gives two 
instances of the use of 'secure' as a verb meaning to render careless ; one is the 
passage in Tim. II, ii, 184, already cited by F. W. J. and White; and the other is 
Oth. I, iii, 10 : « I do not so secure me in the error.' Furthermore, Schmidt says 
that the signification of ' means ' as < moderate condition' is unknown in Sh., and per- 
haps in the whole range of the English language. [The various emendations that have 
been proposed are as follows :] Theobald (Sh. Rest. p. 177) conjectured ' Our means 
ensnare us ' ; but did not afterwards repeat it in his edition. Hanmer's text reads : 
* Meanness secures us.' Johnson : I do not remember that mean is ever used as a 
substantive for low fortune, which is the sense here required, nor for mediocrity, except 
i 11 the phrase, the * golden mean.' I suspect the passage of corruption, and would read : 
' Our means seduce us,' or ' Our maims secure us.' That hurt or deprivation which 
makes us defenceless proves our safeguard. This is very proper in Gloucester, newly 
maimed by the evulsion of his eyes. Hunter (New Must, ii, 272) proposed, without 
comment other than that the passage as it now stands cannot be right, * Our meanness 
succours us.' Anon. (Cent. Mag., Aug. 1845, P* ll 7) : Does the exact point of cor- 
ruption in the text lie in • means ' or « our ? ' Can it be • Poor means secure us,' &c. ? 
A. E. B[rae] (iV. 6* Qu. I Ser. vii, 592, 1853) : There are two verbs, one in every-day 
use, the other obsolete, which, although of nearly opposite significations, and of very 
dissimilar sound, nevertheless differ only in the mutual exchange of place in two 
letters : these verbs are secure and recuje ; the first implying assurance ; the seconc', 
want of assurance, or refusal. Hence any sentence would receive an opposite 
meaning from one of these verbs to what it would from the other. In the present 
passage one would suppose that the obvious opposition between means and defects 
would have preserved these words from being tampered with ; and that, on the other 
hand, the absence of opposition between secure and commodious would have directed 
attention to the real error. But no : all the worritting has been about means. Read, 
therefore, ' Our means recuse us,' &c. Singer (ed. 2) : Afeanes of the old copy is 
possibly a typographical error for needes; the words being easily confounded in old 
MSS. The context shows that needs was probably what Sh. wrote. [' Needs ' is in 
Singer's text.] Collier (ed. 2) : Afeanes is corrected to wants in the (MS), and so 
we print with confidence ; the context shows that the emendation is required, how- 
ever much misplaced ingenuity may insist that the old text ought to be preserved. 
Walker (Crit. iii, 281) : There can be no doubt that Johnson's maims is the right 
reading. One of the numberless passages which illustrate the old pronunciation of ea. 
Lettsom [Foot-note to the foregoing] : Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, b. v, sect, lxv : 
' If men of so good experience and insight in the maims of our weak flesh, have 
thought,' &c. b. v, sect, xxiv, 3 : 'In a minister, ignorance and disability to teach 
is a maim.' Greene, yames the Fourth, Dyce, vol. ii, p. 145 : ' But, sir Divine to 
you ; look on your maims, Divisions, sects, your simonies, and bribes,' &c. Hudson 
adopts maims. 

23. see thee in] Keightley : The proper word of course is feel, not ' see '; but 
the text may be right. We might also read by for ' in.' 



[act iv, sa i 


I 'Id say I had eyes again f 

Old Man. How now! Who's there? 24 

Edg. [Aside] O godsl Who is't can say * I am at the 

worst ' ? 25 

I am worse than e'er I was. 

Old Man. Tis poor mad Tom. 

Edg. [Aside] And worse I may be yet ; the worst is not 
So long as we can say ' This is the worst' 

Old Man. Fellow, where goest ? 

Glau. Is it a beggar-man ? 

Old Man. Madman and beggar too. 30 

Glau. He has some reason, else he could not beg. 
T th' last night's storm I such a fellow saw, 
Which made me think a man a worm. My son 
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind 
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more since. 35 
As flies to wanton boys, are we to th' gods ; 
They kill us for their sport 

Edg. [Aside] How should this be ? 

Bad is the trade that must play fool to sorrow, 

24. Who's] Whofe%. 

25. 2 7. 37. 5*. 53- [Aside] Johns. 

25. I am at the] I am at F r Ptn 
at the Pope+, Dyce ii, Huds. 

26. / ani\ Pm Pope + , Dyce ii, Huds. 
e'er] Rowe. ere QqFf. 

28. So long] As long Qq. 

31. He] A Q f . 

32, P th 1 ] In the Qq. 
35. Two lines, Ff. 

/ have] Pve Pope+, Dyce ii, 


36. to wanton] are totV wanton Q s . 
are to'th wanton Q,. to th* wanton F S F 4 , 

37. hill] bitt Q f . bit Q,. 
37-39. How...masler 7] Prose, Qq 

37. this] their F,. 

38. that must play fool to] that muft 
play the foole to Qq, F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Jen. 
Steev. Mai. that mujl play to foole F B . 
must play the fool to Pope-*-, Ec. Bos. 

28. worst] Moberly : If we could truly say ' this is the worst,' our capacities 
for suffering would be finite ; but this is not so, there is always * in lowest depth a 
lower deep ' of possible suffering. 

33. worm] Compare Job, xxv, 6: < How much less man, that is a worm? and 
the son of man which is a worm ? ' — Dr Krauth, MS. 

37. kill] Delius : Bit of the Qq is probably a misprint for hit. Wordsworth 
(Sh. Knowledge of the Bible, &c. p. 1 14] : I very much doubt whether Sh. would 
have allowed any but a Heathen character to utter this sentiment. 

37. How, &c] Moberly : ' Can this be the truth? It is a poor trade to draw 
out of sorrow aphorisms based, like those of fools, on the first aspect of things, and 
tending to recklessness and despair.' [Does not Edgar's exclamation, * How should 
this be ? ' refer to his father's blindness ? — Ed.] 

ACT zv, sc. i.] 



Angering itself and others. — Bless thee, master I 
Glou. Is that the naked fellow ? 

Old Man. Ay, my lord. 40 

Glou. Then, prithee, get thee gone. If for my sake 

Thou wilt o'ertake us hence a mile or twain 

I 1 th* way toward Dover, do it for ancient love; 

And bring some covering for this naked soul, 

Which I '11 entreat to lead me. 

Old Man. Alack, sir, he is mad. 45 

Glou. Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the 

Do as I bid thee, or rather do thy pleasure ; 

Above the rest, be gone. 

Old Man. I '11 bring him the best 'parel that I have, 

Come on't what will. [Exit. 

Glou. Sirrah, naked fellow. 50 

Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold. — [Aside] I cannot daub it 

39. Angering itself] Anguishing' t 
ulf Han. Anguishing itself Warb. 

41. Then. .gone] Get thee away Ff+ , 
Knt, Del. Scb. 

42. hence"] here Qq. 

43. toward] to Q,, Stccv. Ec Var. 
Sing. Sta. Ktly. towards Cap. 

44. this] his Rowe ii. 

45. Which] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Dyce, 
Coll. iii, Sch. Who Qq, Sta. Glo.+. 
Whom Pope et cet. 

46. Two lines, Ff. 

times*] Cap. times QqFf. time's 

Rowe + , Jen. Del. Sing. Ktly, Huds. Sch. 
47. thee] Om. Pope+. 

49. 'parel] 'Parrel Rowe. parreU 
QqF t F,FL. Parrel F 4 . 

[Exit.] Om. Qq. 

50. Sirrah,] Sirrah, you Han. Sir- 
rah, thou Ktly. 

fellow.] fellow,— Cap. Dyce, Sta. 
Glo.+, Mob. Sch. 

51. daub it] dance it Q<{, Pope, dally 

further] farther Qq, ColL Del. 

39. Angering] Heath : He at the same time displeases himself and the person 
he endeavors to amuse. 

46. times'] Dyce shows by several examples [which Schmidt's Lex. will supply] 
that this is the plural. Moberly : When enthusiasts madden the ignorant. The ele- 
ments were already working in England which produced the Fifth Monarchy and the 
Blackfriars' fanatics, Naylor, General Harrison, and the like. 

49. 'parel] For a long list of words in which the prefix is dropped, see Abbott, 
5 460. We have « 'filed ' for defiled in Macb. Ill, i, 65, which is not in Abbott's 
list. Wright : No doubt ' paraille ' was an earlier form of this word, but it was 
not used in Shakespeare's time. 

50 on't] See « two on's daughters,' I, iv, 98, 148 ; I, v, 19. 

51. daub it] Warburton : Disguise. Stebvens: So in Rich. Ill; III, v, 29: 
4 So smooth he daub'd his vice with show of virtue.' Again in the Paston Letters: 



[act iv, sc. i 

Glou. Come hither, fellow. 52 

Edg. [Aside] And yet I must — Bless thy sweet eyes, 
they bleed 

Glou, Know'st thou the way to Dover ? 

Edg. Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor 55 
Tom hath been scared out of his good wits. Bless thee, good 
man's son, from the foul fiend ! * Five fiends have been in poor 

* Tom at once ; of lust, as Obidicut ; Hobbididence, prince of 

* dumbness; Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; Stiber- 
*digebit, of mopping and mowing, who since possesses 60 

* chambermaids and waiting- women. So. bless thee, master 1* 

53. And yet I must.] Om. Qq. 
And...bleed.] One line, Cap. Two 
lines, Ff. 

55-57. Both...fiendf] Prose, Ff. Three 
lines, Qq. 

56. scared] /card Qq. fcarr*dYJ? % . 
feared FjF 4 . scarred Sch. 

56, 57. thee, good mart's son,"] the good 
man Qq, Mai. Steev. Bos. thee, good 
man, Pope+, Jen. 

57-61. Five, .. master /] Prose, Pope. 
Five lines, Qq. Om. Ff, Rowe. 

58. at once] in once Cap. (corrected 
in Corrigenda, vol. x). 

of lust, as Obidicut;] Om. Pope. 
Hobbididence] Hobbididen Pope + . 

Hobbididdance Cap. 

59. dumbness] darkness Cap. (cor* 
retted in Errata). 

Modo] Mohu Pope+. 

Stiberdigebit] Qq. and Flibber- 
tigibbet Theob. Warb. Johns. Steev. Ec. 
Var. Coll. Del. Sta. Dyce u, Wh. Fltih 
bertigibbet Pope et cet. 

60. mopping and mowing,] Theob. 
(subs.). Mobing, 6* Mohing Q s . Mo- 
bing, and Mohing Q a . moping, and 
Mowing Pope {Mowing in italics, as the 
name of the fifth fiend. See Textual 
Note, line 60). mobbing and mowing; 

61. So. .. master f] Om. Pope+. 

* her moder hath seyd to her . . . that she hath no fantesy therinne, but that it shall 
com to a jape ; and seyth to her that there is gode crafte in dawbyng ' [vol. i, 
p. 269, ed. Gairdner]. For the indefinite use of « it/ see Ham. II, i, 12, or Abbott, 
53. thy] See IV, vi, 30. 

58. of lust, as Obidicut] Walker (Crit. ii, 249) : (to., ' as Obidicut. of lust; 
H. of dumbness/ &c. ' As • in the Elizabethan sense of namely, to wit. 

59. Stiberdigebit] I can see no reason for deserting the original text here. — Ed. 

60. mopping] Capell (Gloss.) : To drop, duck, or dance oddly. Nares, Dyce, 
and Schmidt define it by 'making grimaces/ Malone quotes from Harsnet's 
Declaration : * — Make antike faces, grinne, mow and mop like an ape/ 

60. mowing] Moberly: Wedgwood compares the French ' faire la moue/ 
Italian 'far la mocca/ and the Swiss-German 'miipfen' and 'mtthelen' for 'to 
make faces/ In all these cases the words are coined to express protrusion of the 

61. chambermaids] This is generally supposed to have been suggested by the 
three chambermaids in the family of Mr Edmund Peckham, mentioned in Harsnet's 
Declaration, but Moberly gives it a general reference to chambermaids ' who pe» 
form these antics before their mistress' dressing-glass.' 

ACT IV, SC. i.] 



JLr- ) 

Glou. Here, take this pui^se, thou whom the heavens* 

plagues 62 

Have humbled to all strokes ; that I am wretched 
Makes thee the happier. Heavens, deal so still 1 
Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man, 65 

That slaves your ordinance, that will OQt_see 
Because he does not_f§el, feel your power quickly; 
So distribution should undo excess 

62. thou] QqF g F 3 F 4 . y» F t . you Knt. 

heavens'] heaven's Han. 

plagues] plagues, Q,. 
63, 64. Have. ..thee] One line, Qq. 
65. and] and the Rowe. 

lust-dieted] lust-dieting Cap. 

66. slaves] ftands Qq. braves Warb. 
Han. Jen. Sing. Coll. ii. (MS). 

67. does] Q f , Johns. Jen. Knt, Sch. 
do's Ff +. doth Q, et cet. 

68. undo] vndoo F t . undoe F r un- 
der Qq. 

63, 64. that • • . happier] Wordsworth (p. 216) : That is, because my wretch* 
edness now teaches me to compassionate those who are in distress. 

65. superfluous] Johnson : Lear has before uttered the same sentiment, which 
indeed cannot be too strongly impressed, though it may be too often repeated. 
Eccles : Sentiments like these can no more be too often repeated than too strongly 
impressed, when recommended by such varied elegance and beauty of expression. 

66. slaves] Warburton : Gloucester is speaking of such who by an uninter- 
rupted course of prosperity are grown wanton, and callous to the misfortunes of 
others ; such as those who, fearing no reverse, slight and neglect, and therefore may 
be said to brave, the ordinance of heaven. Which is certainly the right reading. 
Heath : The meaning is, Who, instead of paying the deference and submission due 
to your ordinance, treats it as his slave, by making it subservient to his views of 
pleasure or interest Johnson : To slave or beslave another is to treat him with 
indignity; in a kindred sense, to 'slave the ordinance 9 may be to slight or ridicule 
it. [In support of Heath's interpretation, which is undoubtedly the true one,] 
Steevens cites Heywood's Braten Age: 'none Could slave him like the Lydian 
Omphale.' Massinger's A New Way to Pay Old Debts, IV, iii : 'the smooth brow 
Of a pleased sire, that slaves me to his will.' Malone: See Webster's Afaleon* 
tent, IV, i: 'O powerful blood! how dost thou slave their soul.' Wright: Com*, 
pare B. and Fl. The False One, V, iv: 'Nay, grant they had slav'd my body, my 
free mind,' &c; and Middleton, The Roaring Girl (Works, ii, 445, ed. Dyce). 
' Fortune, who slaves men, was my slave.' 

66. ordinance] Moberly : The ordinance meant is probably what the parable 
of Dives and Lazarus expresses, that ignorance of the sufferings of those near us is 
itself a crime. Schmidt : Here it must be taken in the sense of the established 
order of things, law of nature. Bailey (ii, 96) : ' Read : " that slanders your ordi- 
nance," 1. e. that disparages it, casts reproach or contumely upon it, discredits it' 
To meet the objection to slander on the score of metre, Bailey cites Walker's Vers. 69, 
where this word is given among the dissyllables which Chaucer uses metrically as 
monosyllables, and thinks that ' the objection is more than countervailed by the apt- 
ness of the term for the place.' 

238 KING LEAR [activ,sc.I. 

And each man have enough. Dost thou know Dover ? 
Edg. Ay, master. 70 

Glou. There is a cliff whose high and bending head 

Looks fearfully in the confined deep; 

Bring me but to the very brim of it, 

And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear 

With something rich about me ; from that place 75 

I shall no leading need. 
Edg. Give me thy arm ; 

Poor Tom shall lead thee. [Exeunt. 

72. fearfully] fitmefy Qq. 76. I shall] Jkall I Q,. 

**] on Rowc+, Cap. Jen. Ec. leading] lending F f F 4 , Rowe. 

75. 76. lVith...need.] First line ends 76, 77. Give..Jhee.] One line, Qq. 

me, Qq. 77. [Exeunt.] Om. Qq. 

71. There is, ftc] Moberly: It is remarkable that Gloucester goes to Dover, 
not, as Regan laughingly says, that he may now do his worst in treason, but simply 
that he may throw himself from the cliff in utter despair. The fact is, that this 
interpolated part of the plot is one of the many instances of Shakespeare's homage 
to Sir Philip Sidney ; to pay which he does not hesitate to make a certain sacrifice 
of probability. In the Arcadia (p. 160) we have ' a prince of Paphlagonia, who, 
being ill-treated by his son, goes to the top of a high rock to cast himself down.' 
(But how slight is the hint in the romance compared with the magnificent use which 
Shakespeare makes of it !) So in Pericles, i, 1, we have taken from Sidney's Arcadia 
(p. 149) the expression, < The Senate-house of planets all did sit, To knit in her their 
best perfections.' And in As You Like It, the celebrated passage about « tongues in 
trees,' &c, is an adaptation from Sidney's AstropheL 

72. Looks fearfully] Moberly : The beetling top of the cliff seems to be look- 
ing down with alarm over the sea which it hems in. This description seems as if 
no particular Dover cliff were meant, as the cliffs there are not really perpendicular. 

72. in] Malone : Sh. considered the sea as a mirrour. To look in a glass is yet 
our colloquial phraseology. Wright says • in ' is here equivalent to into, and cites 
Rich. Ill: I, ii, 261 : ' But first I'll turn yon fellow in his g^ave.' [For similar 
instances, see Abbott, J 159.] Schmidt agrees with Malone. 

72. confined] Capell x Pent in straits. 

17 N 

ACT XV. SC. il] 



Scene II. Before the Duke of Albany 's palace 
Enter Gonkril and Edmund. 

Gon. Welcome, my lord ; I marvel our mild husband 
Not met us on the way.— [Enter Oswald.] Now, where *s 
your master ? 

Osw. Madam, within ; but never man so changed. 
I told him of the army that was landed ; 
He smiled at it I told him you were coming ; 
His answer was : € The worse ;' of Gloucester's treachery 
And of the loyal service of his son 
When I informed him, then he call'd me € sot/ 
And told me I had turn'd the wrong side out 
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him ; 
What like, offensive. 

Gon. [To Edm!\ Then shall you go no further. 
It is the cowish terror of his spirit, 
That dares not undertake; he'll not feel wrongs, 
Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way 


Scene n.] Scena Secunda Ff (Scaena 

Before...] Cap. (subs.) The Duke of 
Albany's Palace. Rowe. A Courtyard 
of... Eccles conj. 

Enter...] Theob. Enter Gonorill and 
Baftard. Qq. Enter Gonerill, Baftard, 
and Steward. Ff. Enter Goneril, and 
Edmund ; Steward meeting them. Cap. 

2. Enter Oswald] Enter Steward. 

Qq (after master f). 

3-1 1. Jlfadam...offenswe.'] Prose, Qq. 

10. most., dislike] hee Jhould mo/l de- 

11. [To Edm.] Han. 

shall you] thou shalt Jen. 

12. terror] terrer Q I . curre Q t . 

14, 15. answer. ..Edmund, to] answer, 
that our wishes On tk > way may prove 
effeels, back, to Han. 

1. Welcome] Delius: She welcomes him to her house after she has reached it 
in his company. 

1. mild] Johnson : It must be remembered that Albany, the husband of Goneril, 
disliked, at the end of the first Act, the scheme of oppression and ingratitude. 

2. Not met] For instances of the omission of the auxiliary « do ' before ' not/ Bee 
II. it 75. or Abbott, 5 305. 

11. What like, offensive] Abbott, $395: Antithetical sentences frequently do 
not repeat pronouns, verbs, &c. See IV, vi, 261 ; IV, vii, 4. 

12. cowish] Wright : Not found elsewhere. Perhaps the true reading is ' currish 

14. answer] Moberly : Which makes it necessary that he should reply to them 
as a man. 

14, 15. Our wishes . . . effects] Steevens: ' What we wish, before our march 
is at an end, may be brought to happen,' i. e. the murder or dispatch of her husband. 
* On the way/ however, may be equivalent to the expression we now use: By the 

240 KING LEAR [act HtSC.iL 

May prove effefts. Back, Edmund, to my brother ; 1 5 

Hasten his musters and conduft his powers. 

I must change arms at home and give the distaff 

Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant 

Shall pass between us ; ere long you are like to hear, 

If you dare venture in your own behalf, 20 

A mistress's command. Wear this ; spare speech ; 

Decline your head. This kiss, if it durst speak, 

Would stretch thy spirits up into the air. 

Conqeive, and fare thee well. 

Edtn. Yours in the ranks of death. 

Gon. My most dear Gloucester ! 25 

[Exit Edmund 
Oh, the difference of man and man I 
To thee a woman's services are due. 
My fool usurps my body. 

Osw. Madam, here comes my lord. [Exit. 

15. Edmund] Edgar Q,. Rowc. Exit. F t F. (after death). Om 

1 7. arms] names Ff, Rowe, Knt, Del. QqF s F 4 . 

i f Wh. Sch. 25, 27. My...due] One line, Qq (omit- 

19. ere...hear] you ere long shall hear ting Oh. I), 

Pope+. 26. Oh t ] Separate line, Steev. Walker, 

you are] you *re Dyce it, Huds. Huds. But 0, (transposing 26, 27) 

20. venture] venter Q,. Anon.* 

21. command] coward Q a . difference] strange difference 
this; spare] this, /pare Q,. this Pope +, Cap. 

fpare Q 9 . 26-28. Oh. ..lord.] Lines end thee... fool 

[Giving a favour. Johns. G./es ...lord. Steev. Walker, Dyce ii, Huds. 
him a ring. Han. 27. a] Om. Q 2 . 

24. fare thee well] far you well Q, 28. My fool... body.] A foole....bed. Q T . 
faryewell Q a . Myfootc.head. Q a . My fool. ...bed, Mai. 

25, 26. My. /] One line, Ktly. Steev. Ec. Bos. Huds. 

25. [Exit Edmund.] Exit Bastard. Exit.] Exit Steward. Qq. Om. Fl 

way, or By the by, i. e. en passant. Mason and Malone rightly interpret * on the 
way ' by ' on our journey hither.' 

22. Decline] Steevens thinks that Goneril bids Edmund decline his head that she 
might, while giving him a kiss, appear to Oswald merely to be whispering to him. 
But this, Wright says, is giving Goneril ' credit for too much delicacy, and Oswald 
was "a serviceable villain." • Delius suggests that perhaps she wishes to put a 
chain around his neck. 

22, 23. your . . . thy] Abbott, § 235, suggests that it is the kiss which induces 
the change from the formal you to the endearing thou. 

26. Oh] For the rhythm, see III, .vii, 90. 

28. body] White inclines to accept Q, as the true reading. Wright : For the 
reading foot might be compared Temp. I, ii, 469 : • My foot my tutor.' 

ACT IV. SC. ii.] 



Enter ALBANY. 

Gon. I have been worth the whistle. 

Alb. O Goneril ! 

You are not worth the dust which the rude wind 
Blows in your face. * I fear your disposition ; 

* That nature which contemns it origin 

* Cannot be border'd certain in itself; 

* She that herself will sliver and disbranch 

* From her material sap, perforce must wither 

* And come to deadly use. 



Enter Albany.] Enter the Duke 
of Albeney. (after whistle) Q a . Om. Q,. 

29. whistle] whiflling Q,. 

2 9> 30. 0...wind] One line, Qq. 

30. rude] Om. Q t 

31-50. I fear. ..deep.] Om. Ff, Rowe. 
32. 1*] Q a , Wh. Wr. Uh Q t . its Q 3 

et cet. 

33. border 1 '</]Pope. bordered Qj\,So\\. 

34. sliver] shiver Pope, silver Jen. 
Knt, (misprints?) 

35. material] maternal Theob. Han* 
Johns. Ec. 

29. I . • . whistle] Johnson strangely interprets this as an allusion to Edmund's 
love : ' though you disregard me thus, 1 have found one who thinks me worth calling.' 
Steevens: This expression is in Hey wood's Proverbs: * A poore dogge that is not 
woorth the whystlyng.' 

31. fear] Equivalent to fear for; see Ham. I, iii, 51. 

32, 33. That . . . itself] Heath : That nature which is arrived to such a pitch 
of unnatural degeneracy, as to contemn its origin, cannot from thenceforth be re- 
strained within any certain bounds whatever, but is prepared to break out into the 
most monstrous excesses every way, as occasion or temptation may offer. Cowden 
Clarke: 'Cannot be border' d certain in itself means, cannot comprise reliable 
component substance in itself. Schmidt : ' Certain ' is equivalent to fixed, firm, 

32. it] See I, iv, 209. 

33. border'd] Bailey (ii, 97) : Surely we ought to read here ordered in the sense 
of regulated. The blunder seems to have arisen from the preceding « be.' 

35. material sap] Warburton : That whereby a branch is nourished, and in* 
creases in bulk by fresh accession of matter. [After criticising Theobald's suggestion 
of * maternal sap,' Warburton cites an instance in Theobald's favour, where, in the 
title of an old book, ' material ' is apparently equivalent to maternal: * Sir John 
Froissart's Chronicle translated out of Frenche into our material English Tongue 
by John Bouchicr, printed 1525.'] Jennens : The force of Albany's argument to 
prove that a branch torn from a tree must infallibly wither and die, lies in this, that it 
is separated from a communication with that which supplies it with the very identical 
matter by which it (the branch) lives, and of which it is composed. Collier (ed. 2) : 
Might not natural, in spite of the irregularity of the rhythm, be the word of the poet? 
Schmidt : From Shakespeare's use of ' material ' elsewhere, in the sense of full of 
matter, and hence of importance, it is not easy to explain it here. Theobald's sug- 
gestion is appropriate and ingenious, but unfortunately Sh. knows not the word. 

36. deadly] Warburton : Alluding to the use that witches and enchanters are 

21 Q 



[act iv,.sc. &• 

* Gon. No more ; the text is foolish. 

* Alb. Wisdom and goodness to the vilde seem vilde ; 

* Filths savour but themselves. What have you done? 

* Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd ? 

* A father, and a gracious aged man, 

* Whose reverence e'en the head-lugged bear would lick, 

* Most barbarous, most degenerate ! have you madded. 

* Could my good brother suffer you to do it? 

* A man, a prince, by him so benefited ! 

* If that the heavens do not their visible spirits 

* Send quickly down to tame these vilde offences, 

* It will come, 




37. the text is] tis Popc+. 

38. 47. vilde] Q,. f^/QpDeLi, 
Sch. vile Pope ct cet. 

39. Om. Pope, Han. 
42. Om. Pope+. 

reverence..Jbear] reverend head the 
rugged bear Cap. 

e'en] Ed. euen Q,. Om. Q,, Cap. 
Steer. Ec. Var. Coll. Sing. Del. Dyce, 
Wh. Ktly, Huds. 
45. benefited] benifited Q x . benefitted 

47, 48. Send.. .come,] As in Mai. Steev. 
Ec. Knt, Coll. i, Del. Sing. Dyce, Wh. 

Glo.+, Huds. One line, Qq. 

47. these vilde] Ed. thisvildQ^. the 
vilde Q a , Sch. the vile Pope+, Cap 
these wild Co\\. ii. these vile Heath et cet. 

48. It will come,] Om. Pope+, Cap. 
' Twill come, Jen. Steev. '93, Bos. Knt, 
Sta. Mob. 

48, 49. // will...on] ' 7will...on (one 
line) Jen. 

// wiU....on itself] 9 Twill....on 
. 'tself (one line) Sta. 

// will come... perforce] One line, 
Coll: ii. // will come that., perforce (one 
line) Ktly. 

said to make of withered branches in their charms. A fine insinuation in the speaker, 
that she was ready for the most unnatural mischief, and a preparative of the poet to 
her plotting with the bastard against her husband's life. Moberly : To the use 
which belongs to a dead thing ; burning, that is. Warburton's reference to witch- 
craft is unnecessary. 

39. savour] Eccles : To have a proper taste or relish for. 

42. head-lugg'd] Wright: Compare Harsnet, p. 107: 'As men leade Beares 
by the nose, or Jack an Apes on a string.' So a ' lugged bear,' 1 Hen. IV; I, ii, 82. 

43. madded] Wright : That is, maddened, which Sh. does not use. 

45. Warburton : After this line, I suspect a line or two to be wanting, which up- 
braids her for her sister's cruelty to Gloucester. And my reason is, that in her an- 
swer we find: 'Fools do these villains pity who are punished Ere they have done 
their mischief,' which evidently alludes to Gloucester. Now, I cannot conceive that 
she should here apologise for what was not objected to her. 

47. tame] Schmidt: A suspicious word on account of its weakness. Afte** 
• visible spirits ' we should expect rather to doom or to damn. Perhaps Sh. wrote 
to take the vild offenders. 

47. vilde] Collier (ed. 2) : ' Tame ' and wild are opposed, and this seems one 
of the cases in which the old spelling vilde has introduced confusion. 

ACT IV, sc. ii.] 



* Humanity must perforce prey on itself, 

* Like monsters of the deep.* 

Gon. Milk-liver'd man ! 50 

That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs ; 
Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning 
Thine honour from thy suffering ; * that not know'st 

* Fools do those villains pity who are punish'd 

* Ere they have done their mischief, — where's thy drum ? 55 

49, 50. Humanity... deep.] As in Pope. 
One line, Qq. 
49. Humanity] Humanly Q a . 

perforce'] Om. Mob., reading ' Twill 
...itself as one line. 
prey] pray Q r . 

51. bear'st] beareft Qq, Sch. 

for wrongs] of wrongs FF 4 , Rowe. 

52, 53. Who...honour] One line, Qq. 
52. eye discerning] Rowe. eye-dif- 

cerning Ff. eye deferuing Q f . tie dif- 

eruring Q a . 

53-59. that... so ?] As by Theob. The 
first three lines end pitty...mifchiefe t ... 
land, in Q,. End pity....mifchiefe t .... 
noifeleffe, in Q a . Om. Ff. 

53. not] now Wh. 

53, 54. know* st Fools do] Han. know* ft t 
fools do Q f . know'fl fooles, do Q a . 

54. those] theft Q^, Theob. Warb. 

54, 55. Fools • • • mischief] War burton, as is noted above, refers this to 
Gloucester, but Capell contends that it could not apply to him, because ' he had 
done the harm he was punish'd for, he had reliev'd Lear, and sent him away ; but, 
horrid as it may seem, her father is the " villain," who, according to this lady, is to 
be pity'd of none but " fools ;" he, indeed, is " punish'd " ere any mischief is done by 
him.* Eccles : Possibly, she means that persons who harbour evil intentions, but, 
through irresolution, or dread of consequences, delay the execution of them till dis- 
appointment or punishment overtake them, obtain pity from none but ' fools,' as men 
of sense generally discern the disposition of their hearts. This also serves as an 
apology for her own precipitation, and a censure upon the pusillanimity in her hus- 
band. It may indeed be objected to fhis interpretation that she appears thereby to 
stamp villainy upon her own conduct, but her words may imply : « We have mischief 
in hand, which it is expedient to effect ; if so, the more speedily it is accomplished 
the better ; for, even if our proceeding merited your imputation, still it is to be con- 
sidered that only " Fools do these villains pity," ' &c. Malone : It is not clear 
whether this fiend means her father or the King of France. If her words have a 
retrospect to Albany's speech, which the word ' pity ' might lead us to suppose, Lear 
must be referred to ; if they are considered as connected with what follows, 'Where's 
thy drum ? ' &c, the other interpretation must be adopted. The latter appears to me 
the true one, and perhaps the punctuation of the Qq, in which there is only a comma 
after « mischief,' ought to have been preferred. Singer : Surely there cannot be a 
doubt that she refers to her father, and to the ' pity ' for his sufferings expressed by 
Albany, whom she means indirectly to call a ' fool ' for expressing it. [She cannot 
refer to Gloucester, because Albany is ignorant of what had been done to him, and 
she herself had left Gloucester's castle before the blinding was accomplished. It is 
difficult to believe that she refers to Lear; may it not be that she refers to Albany 
himself? She has told him that his preachment about her father was foolish, and 

244 KING LEAR [Acrnr.sci. 

* Fiance spreads his banners in our noiseless land, 56 

* With plumed helm thy state begins to threat, 

* Whilst thou, a moral fool, sifst still and criest 

* 'Alack, why does he so?* * 

Alb. See thyself, devil! 

Proper deformity' seems not in the fiend 60 

So horrid as in woman. 

Gon. O vain fool ! 

57. thy state begins to threat] Jen. 58. Whilst] Whiles Q^ Dyce, St*. 

Sou Cam. Wr. Mob. Sch. thy flate be- Glo.+,Sch. While&p. 
gims thereat Q^ thy stayer begins his 58. moral] mortall (X. 

threats Theob. Warb. Johns. Cap. Ktly. sit? st..xriest] ColL sifst^xrfst 

the slayer begins his threats Han. Ec. Theob. flts»xries Qq. 
this Lear begins threats Leo (jV. £• Qu. 59-6 1. See...woman.] Prase, Qq. 

5, Ser. Tii, p. 3). thy flour begins threats 60. deformity] deformity Q^. 

Q, et cet. seems] Jkewes Q,, Wr. Sch. 

that he should drop the subject. Is it likely that she would resume it? On the con* 
trary, she wishes, as soon as possible, to torn the tables, and put him to his defence, 
therefore she launches into bitter railing against his supineness ; he is * milk liverM/ 
with no sense of honour, &c. &c., and is ignorant that none but fools will hare any 
pity for villains, like himself, who are punished before they have struck a blow. 
Thus interpreted, the taunting question, ' where's thy drum ? ' follows keen, like the 
lash to a whip. I have not, therefore, put a period after * mischief,' as is done in 
every other edition since Hanmer's, but have adhered to the Qq, which have merely 
a comma. — Ed.] 

57. thy • . . threat] This is Jennens's emendation and text, erroneously attributed 
in the Cam. ed. to Eccles. Through some oversight Jennens's edition seems to have 
been somewhat slighted by the Cam. Edd. ; many of the readings attributed in their 
textual notes to ' Steevens 1778' should be given to Jennens. In fact Jennens's text, 
in this play, owing to a preference for the Qq, which he shares to a certain extent 
with the Cam. Edd., agrees, in disputed passages, as closely perhaps as any other, 
except Dyce's, in his first edition, with that of the Cambridge edition. — Ed. 

58. a moral] Delius: That is, a moralizing. Compare Much Ado, V, i, 30. 
Schmidt (Lex.) adds, As You Like It, II, vii, 29. 

60. Proper deformity] Warburton : Diabolic qualities appear not so horrid in 
the devil, to whom they belong, &c. White : That is, deformity which, in the words 
of Albany's next speech, be-monsters the < feature * or peculiar characteristic personal 
traits. Delius : That is, a deformity which conceals itself under a pleasing, fair 
outside, and which appears all the more horrid from its internal contrast. Compare 
Thuelfth Night, II, ii, 30: 'proper-false,' 1. e. externally fair, internally false. 
[Although, this explanation of Delius's is ingenious, and one which none but a 
Shakespeare-scholar would have made, yet it is, I fear, somewhat too refined. As 
Wright says in reference to it : 'This interpretation would require some such word 
as « specious ' instead of « horrid ' in the next line.'— Ed.] Wright refers to 2 Hen* 
JV: IV. i, 37. 

act nr, scii.] KING LEAR 245 

* Alb. Thou changed and self-cover'd thing, for shame, 62 

62-69. /] Om. Ff, Rowe» 62. self- cover* d]felfe-eouerdQ<\. self* 

Pope, Han. <WMwta/Theob.Warb.Cap. sex-cover* d 

62. changed] chang'd Q,. Crosby, Hads. iii. 

62. self-cover'd] Johnson : I cannot but think that this means, thou that hast 
disguised nature by wickedness ; thou that hast hid the woman under the fiend. 
Henley : Goneril, having thrown off the convenient seeming of female gentleness, 
now no longer played the hypocrite, but exhibited in her face the self-same passions 
she had covered in her heart M alone : Thou who hast put a covering on thyself 
which nature did not give thee. The covering which Albany means is, the semblance 
and appearance of a fiend. Steevens : Perhaps there is an allusion to the envelope 
which the maggots of some insects furnish to themselves. Voss (iii, 643, Leipzig, 
181 9) suggests fell-coy tr'd : 'Albany refers to the expression of satanic unwor~an- 
liness which covers her face like a dark cloud.' Hudson : An obscure expression, 
but probably meaning, thou who hast hid the woman in the fiend, or who hast 
changed from what thou rightly art, and covered or lost thy proper self under 
an usurped monstrosity; Cartwright : Read ' chang'd and discovered thing/ &c. 
She has just openly exposed her character. Delius : That is, a thing whose genuine 
self (in this case, therefore, whose fiendish self) is concealed, covered. Cowden 
Clarke : Thou perverted creature, who hast covered thyself with the hideousness 
only proper to a fiend. Singer (ed. 2) : This is evidently a misprint for fat/e-eouer'd. 
What follows clearly shows it : ' Howe'er thou art a fiend, A woman's shape doth shield 
thee/ Collier (ed. 2) : The (MS) offers no emendation ; but we may express our 
confidence that Shakespeare's word was ' self -govern' d,' which was misheard by the 
scribe, or by the compositor, ' self-cover'd ' — a compound out of which it is only just 
possible to extract a consistent meaning. Albany complains of the changed and self- ' 
willed disposition of Goneril. J. Beale (N. 6* Qu. 5th Ser. vol. vi, p. 303, 1876) 
suggests ' devil-coyefd. 9 John Bulloch (/did.) : The proper reading is a term 
connected with the law of marriage : ' self-covert.' Schmidt (Lex.) : Dressed in one's 
native semblance. Goneril must be supposed to have, by changing countenance, be- 
trayed all her wickedness. Wright : Who hast disguised thyself in this unnatural 
and fiendlike shape. Moberly [reading, l $t\f -coloured'] : A creature whose vile 
appearance is self-assumed. It seems allowable to read coloured instead of ' cover'd, 1 
in which it is hard to see any sense. Collier (ed. 3) : Possibly ' st\f -lowered thing.' 
Crosby {Lit. World, 22 November, Boston, 1879) considers ' changed' as equivalent 
to bewitched, zs in Mid. N. D. Ill, i, 117, and for • self-cover'd ' proposes jwr-cover'd 
and urges in proof of its propriety : * First, it furnishes the ground for Albany's taunt 
of shame : Thou be-devilled creature, covered as thou art with all the lineaments 
of a woman, and yet guilty of such monstrous, unwomanly cruelty, " for shame ! " 
Secondly, the reason why he cannot obey the promptings of his passion, and put her 
to instant death, is to be found in the next sentence : " Were 't," &c, i. e. M were it 
becoming me, as a man, to lay violent hands upon a woman," and in " A woman's 
shape doth shield thee," which exactly paraphrases sex-covered. Lastly, it supplies 
the antithetic point in GoneriPs reply : " Marry, your manhood, now ! " ' Further- 
more, Crosby finds in the word ' feature ' another meaning besides its usual one (see 
the next note), viz : sex or womanhood. This, he says, is in ' full unison with its 
etymology from the Lat. facere t 9 and refers to that * which distinguished Gondii's 



[ACT IV. 3C. fi. 

* Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness 

* To let these hands obey my blood, 

* They are apt enough to dislocate and tear 

* Thy flesh and bones. Howe'er thou art a fiend, 

* A woman's shape doth shield thee. 

* Gon. Marry, your manhood now — * 



Enter a Messenger, 

* Alb. What news?* 

Mess. Oh, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead, JO 
Slain by his servant, going to put out 
The other eye of Gloucester. 

Alb. Gloucester's eyes ! 

63. Be-monster.... feature) Separate 
line, Ktly. 

Were'f) Were it Cap. Steer. Ec. 
Var. Knt, Coll. Del. Wh. Ktly. 

64. To] As man to Anon.* 

hands'] hands of mine Steev. conj. 
blood] boiling blood Tbeob. Wart). 
Cap. blood* s behest Anon.* 

65. They are] They're Theob.Warb. 
Johns. Dyce ii, Huds. 

65. dislocate) dijlecate Qq. 

66. howe'er] Theob. how ere Qq. 
68. manhood now — ] manhood 1 

Q,. manhood mew. Cam. Wr. man* 
hood now I Theob. Sch. 

Enter a Messenger.] Ff (after 
foole, line 61). Enter a Gentleman. 
Qq. (after news t Q,). 

70, &c. Mess.] Mes. Ff Gent. Qq. 

70-72. Oh. ..Gloucester.] Prose, Qq. 

making from that of a man.' ' Be-monster not thy feature ' therefore ' means " Make 
not a monster of thy sex," " change not thy woman's form into a devil. Albany 
having just said, " Proper deformity seems not in the Fiend So horrid as in Woman." 
... As a woman GoneriPs " shape ' covers, i. e. protects, her from her husband's im- 
mediate fury. 1 [This emendation Crosby proposed in N. 6* Qu. 5th Ser. vi, 225, 
1876, and no one, I think, can fail to be struck with its ingenuity, 'and yet — .' Is it 
over-refinement to suppose that this revelation to Albany of his wife's fiendlike cha- 
racter transforms, in his eyes, even her person ? She is changed, her true self has 
been covered ; now that she stands revealed, her whole outward shape is be-mon- 
stered. No woman, least of all Goneril, could remain unmoved under such scathing 
words from her husband. GoneriPs ' feature ' is quivering and her face distorted 
with passion. Then it is that Albany tells her not to let her evil self, hitherto cov- 
ered and concealed, betray itself in all its hideousness in her outward shape. — Ed.] 

63. feature] See Schmidt's Lex. for proof that this invariably means in Sh. the 
shape, exterior, the whole turn or cast of the body. 

64. blood] Dyce {Gloss.) : Disposition, inclination, temperament, impulse. [See 
III, v, 20.] This line Abbott, § 508, does not consider defective in metre, but 
supposes that a foot may be omitted where there is any marked pause arising from 
emotion, as here, at the end of the line. 

68. manhood now — ] Delius : She had just before taunted him with being 
' milk-liver'd.' Wright explains his reading as 'to keep in, to restrain' your 

act iv, sc. nj 



Mess. A servant that he bred, thriird with remorse, 
Opposed against the aft, bending his sword 
To his great master; who thereat enraged 
Flew on him and amongst them fell'd him dead, 
But not withput that harmful stroke which since 
Hath pluck'd him after. 

Alb. This shows you are above, 

You justicers, that these our nether crimes 
So speedily can venge. — But, O poor Gloucester! 
Lost he his other eye ? 

Mess. Both, both, my lord — 

This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer ; 
'Tis from your sister. 

Gon. [Aside'] One way I like this well ; 

But being widow, and my Gloucester with her, 
May all the building in my fancy pluck 





73. thrill' J] thrald Qq. 

75. thereat enraged] threat-enrag d 

76. and amongst] they amongst Han. 
fell 'd him] fell he Cap. conj. 

77. not] now Warb. (a misprint ?) 

77. 78. u/Uch...after.] One line in Q,. 
78-81. this...eyet] Three lines, end- 

tag IufHfers (or Iu/tices)...vengt..uyt f 
in Qq. 

78.79. above^You Justicers] Cap. conj. 

Steev. '78. about you luftiftrs Q,. 
about your luftices Q,. about Yost 
luftices Ff. above, you Justices, Rowe + , 
Cap. Jen. Sch. 

79. nether] ntather Q,F t . 

81-83. Both...sisterJ] Two lines, Qq» 
the first ending answer in Q,, zxAfptedy 


83. [Aside] Johns. 

84. being] she being Ktly. 

85. in] on Qq, Wh. of Cap. conj. 

73. remorse] Dycb {Gloss.) : Compassion, tenderness of heart. 

74, 75. bending . • . master] Eccles: The sense would be improved by reading 
« bending the sword Of his great master,' that is, turning it aside to prevent the exe- 
cution of the threatened mischief. Or suppose it were : * bending aside the sword Of 
his,' &c. Schmidt (Lex,) : That is, directing, turning, his sword against his master, 

75. thereat enraged] Collier: The reading of F t is not inappropriate, and 
might be right if the Qq did not contradict it and if the verse were not thereby 

76. amongst them] Mobe&ly : The messenger does not mention that the blow 
came from Regan's hand. 

76. feU'd] Abbott, § 399 : Where there can be no doubt what is the nominative, 
it is sometimes omitted. See II, ii, 114; II, iv, 41 ; and Ham. II, ii, 67. 

79. justicers] See III, vi, 21. 

83. well ;] Mason : Goneril s plan was to poison her sister,— to marry Edmund,— 
to murder Albany, — and to get possession of the whole kingdom. As the death of 
Cornwall facilitated the last part of her scheme, she was pleased at it; but disliked 
it, as it put it in the power of her sister to marry Edmund. 

85. building in my fancy] Steevens: Compare Cor. II, i, 216: 'the buildings 

248 KING LEAR [act 

Upon my hateful life. Another way, 86 

The news is not so tart — 1 11 read, and answer. [Exit 

Alb. Where was his son when they did take his eyes ? 

Mess. Come with my lady hither. 

Alb. He is not here. 

Mess. No, my good lord ; I met him back again. 90 

Alb. Knows he the wickedness ? 

Mess. Ay, my good lord; 'twas he inform'd against 
And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment 
Might have the freer course. 

Alb. Gloucester, I live 

To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the king, 95 

And to revenge thine eyes. — Come hither, friend ; 
Tell me what more thou know'st [Exeunt 

86, 87. Upon..Jart.] Vpon..Jooke t Qq 94-96- Gtoucester..atyes.] As « Aside/ 

(in one line). Johns. Jen. Ec. 

87. tart.—r/I] tart [To him] m 94~91- Gloucester.... Jhundst] Three 
Coll. Del. Wh. lines in Qq, the first two ending King,... 

[Exit.] Om. Ff. friend, in Q ft and loue..*yes; in Q,. 

88. Two lines in Ff. 95. show'dst] Steev. Jhewdjt F t F_F 4 
$9. He is] He's Pope+ , Cap. Dyce ii. Jhewdjt F.. Jhewedjt Qq. showedst Sen 

Huds. 96. thine] thy Qq. 

93. on purpose] of purpofeY^^ 97. know 9 st] knowjt F.. knoweft Qq. 

their] there Q,. [Exeunt.] Exit. Qq. 

of my fancy.' White : The * in ' of the Ff is a mere misprint for on; that is, the 
building of my fancy, a use of on common enough. 

86. Another way] Wright : In contrast with what she has just been saying, 
She really takes the same view of the position as in the first line of her speech. 

90. back again] Wright : That is, on his way back. 

ACT iv, sc. iii.] KING LEAR 249 

* Scene III. The French camp near Dover. 

* Enter Kent and a Gentleman. 

* Kent. Why the King of France is so suddenly gone I 

* back know you the reason ? 

Scene III.] Pope. This Scene is 1,2. Why.. .back] The King of France 

omitted in Ff, Rowe. For this scene so suddenly gone back / Pope + , Cap. 

Ec substitutes Scene V, and calls this, Why....reason ?] Two lines, the 

Scene iv. nest ending backe, in Q., Pope+, Cap. 

The French...] Steev. Om. Pope. Jen. 

French Camp under Dover. Cap. Dover. 1. France"] Fraunce Q,. 

Theob. 2. the] no Q,. 

Scene III] Johnson : This scene seems to have been left out of the Folio only 
to shorten the play. [See Appendix, The Text.] 

As will be seen by the Textual Notes, Eocles again makes a transposition of 
scenes. Between the preceding scene and this present one, he inserts Scene V, call* 
ing it Scene III. Wherefore our Scenes III and IV are his Scenes IV and V. The 
object of this change is to bring closer together ail those scenes which represent the 
transactions in the neighborhood of Dover, and to render unnecessary the supposi- 
tion that Lear passes a night in the open fields. Eccles says: The distance probably 
imagined between the place where Regan has that conference with the Steward, 
which makes the subject of the Scene now before us [Eccles's Scene III, our Scene V], 
and the vicinity of Dover, seems to be such as requires the notion of a night inter* 
vening before he arrives at the latter, and, consequently, the same space of time 
must elapse between any scene which precedes that just mentioned and any other 
wherein he appears to have arrived near Dover, as he does in the sixth scene. It 
follows, then, that between the fourth and sixth, as hitherto numbered, a night must 
pass; but the solicitude to find the King, expressed by Cordelia in the former of 
these, makes it probable that her efforts were attended with success before the coming 
on of night. Let, therefore, scene the fifth of the ancient distribution stand as the 
third in this place, and suppose it to pass on the evening of the third day since that, 
inclusively taken, on the morning of which Lear, attended by certain of his knights, 
began to be conveyed from the castle of Gloucester on his route towards Dover, and 
that, in some former part of the same, Edmund had departed from Regan upon the 
business which she here mentions as the motive of his expedition. ... It appears 
that the Steward, not finding Edmund as he expected, sets out towards Dover with- 
out loss of time in pursuit of him. I suppose the troops of Albany to have begun 
their march towards Dover, but in another direction, about the time of the Steward's 
departure from home charged with the execution of GoneriTs commission. That 
might be either some part of the- same day on which she had reached her own habi- 
tation accompanied by Edmund, or the morning of the succeeding one, so as to 
allow time for the Steward to arrive at his destination in the evening, as there is 
some reason for supposing he had done by Regan's exhortation in this scene [our 
Scene V] to wait the safe conduct of her forces on the morrow, and her hint respect* 



[act iv, sc. iiL 

* Gent Something he left imperfefl in the state which 

* since his coming forth is thought of, which imports to the 

* kingdom so much fear and danger that his personal return 5 

* was most required and necessary. 

* Kent Who hath he left behind him General ? 

* Gent The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far. 

3-6. Something. necessary] Four 

lines, ending state... which... danger,... 
necessary, Pope+, Cap. Jen. Mai. Ec. 
Ktly. Ending state. ..which. ..danger... 
required Steev. Bos. Coll. Wh. Ktly. 

4. to] Om. Pope+. 

5. personal] Om. Pope,Theob. Han. 
Warb. Cap. 

6. and necessary] Om. Voss. 

7. Who] Whom Warb. Johns. Ec 
Coll. Wh. Ktly. 

8. Marshal] Qq, Dyce, Wh. Glo.+ t 
Huds. Col. iii. Mareschal Pope et cet. 

Monsieur] Monfier Q,. Moun- 
fteurQ t . 

La Far] la Far Qq. &/krPope+ f 
Jen. Knt, Sta. /* Fer. Cap. Steev. Ec. 
Var. Coll. Sing. Ktly. 

ing the insecurity of travelling. [See Appendix : The Duration of the Action p. 409.] 
When Eccles comes to this present scene, which he calls Scene IV, he says : Let 
the period of this scene be supposed the fourth morning from that (both, however, 
inclusively) whereon Lear, with Kent and the rest of his attendants, began his prog- 
ress from Gloucester's castle, Goneril and Edmund from the same set out for the 
palace of Albany, and, later in the day, the sightless Gloucester, conducted by the 
Old Man, began to go to Dover. The Gentleman who enters, conversing with Kent, 
is the same who was deputed by him as a messenger to Dover on the night of the 
storm. From their conversation we infer that this meeting has but a very little 
while before taken place. Kent appears to be but newly arrived. The Gentle- 
man, though he could not have set out many hours before the King and his party, 
yet, having travelled with more expedition, may reasonably be thought to have 
been long enough arrived to have had an opportunity for the conference with 

Gentleman] Johnson : The same whom he had sent with letters to Cordelia. 

2. reason] Steevens : The King of France being no longer a necessary person- 
age, it was fit that some pretext for getting rid of him should be formed before the 
play was too near advanced towards a conclusion. Decency required that a monarch 
should not be silently shuffled into the pack of insignificant characters ; and there 
fore his dismission (which could be effected only by a sudden recall to his own 
dominions) was to be accounted for before the audience. For this purpose, among 
others, the present scene was introduced. It is difficult indeed to say what use could 
have been made of the king, had he appeared at the head of his own armament, and 
survived the murder of his queen. His conjugal concern on the occasion might have 
weakened the effect of Lear's parental sorrow ; and, being an object of respect as 
well as pity, he would naturally have divided the spectators' attention, and thereby 
diminished the consequence of Albany, Edgar, and Kent, whose exemplary virtues 
■deserved to be ultimately placed in the most conspicuous point of view. 

7. Who] For instances of the neglect of the inflection of who, see V, iii, 249 ; 
Macb. Ill, i, 122; III, iv, 42; IV, iii, 171 ; Ham. II. ii, IQ3, and Abbott, §274. 

ACT IV, SC. ill.] 




* Kent Did your letters pierce the queen to any de- 

* monstration of grief? 10 

* Gent. Ay, sir ; she took them, read them in my presence, 

* And now and then an ample tear trill'd down 

* Her delicate cheek. It seem'd she was a queen 

* Over her passion, who most rebel-like 

* Sought to be king o'er her. 

* Kent Oh, then it moved her. 15 

* Gent Not to a rage ; patience and sorrow strove 

* Who should express her goodliest You have seen 

* Sunshine and rain at once ; her smiles and tears 

* Were like a better way ; those happy smilets 

9. Did...any] Separate line, Ktly. 

9, 10. Did....of grief?] Well; say, 
sir, did...of htr grief? Cap., as verse, 
the first line ending queen. 

1 1 . Ay, sir ;] Johns. /, sir, Theob. + , 
I fay Qq, Pope. 

them. ..them] 'em..? em Pope+. 

13-15. IIer...her.] As in Pope. Two. 
lines, the first ending paffion, Qq. 

14. Over} ouer Q f . ore Q^. 
who] which Pope + 

16-24. Not. if] No punctuation 

throughout, but commas, in Qq, except 
drop/; line 22 in Q B . 

16. Not to a rage] But not to rage 
Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

16. strove] Pope, ftreme Qq. 

17 Who] Which Pope+. 

18, 19. her...way.] Om. Pope, Han. 

19. like a better way.] like a better 
way Q z . like a better way, Q B . like a 
wetter May. Warb. Theob. Johns. Cap. 
Jen. like a better day. Theob. Steer. 
Knt, Dyce, Sta. like a better May 
Toilet, Mai. Ec. Bos. Coll. Wh. a 
chequered day Dodd. like a hitter May 
Lloyd.* like 'em /— a better way Ktly. 
happy] happiest Pope ii, Theob. 

smilets] smiles Pope + . Cap. Steer. 
Ec. Var. 

12. trill'd] Walker (Crit. iii, 282) gives other instances of the use of this word 
from Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, III, ii ; Browne's* Britannia's Pas* 
torals, b. ii, song iv ; and b. i, song ▼. Wright : Cotgrave has ' TranscouUr, To 
glide, slide, slip, runne, trill, or trickle (also, to straine) through.' 

14, 17. who] For other instances of ' who ' personifying irrational antecedents, see 
Abbott, § 264. 

18. Sunshine and rain] Moberly: It is the triumph of a poet thus to make 
two feelings work at once in one mind. Thus Homer makes the women's tears for 
Patroclus turn to tears for their own bondage (UGTp6nXov npofaatv c<p&v <T avru» 
jtyde' iK&tm?) ; the dying Dido in Virgil struggles for the light, but hates it when 
found (quaesivit caelo lucem ingemuitque reperta). But no poet ever ventures, as Sh. 
does here, to imagine a grief, the most powerful of which human nature is capable, 
thus controlled by the tranquil graciousness of a calm nature, which cannot do other- 
wise than hold its own amid all disturbance, and is incapable of losing its balance ; 
the inward perfection thus giving lovely mildness to the accidental and temporary 
emotion which still remains entire and undestroyed. 

19. like a better way] Warburton proposed 'a wetter May, i.e. a spring 
season wetter than ordinary ; ' and Theobald supported the conjecture by citing 

252 KING LEAR [act iv, sc. iii. 

[19. like a better way.] 

Shakespeare's «May of youth. 1 — Much Ado, V, i, 76; -sweet May.'— Rich. lit 
V, i, 79 ; « rose of May.'— Ham. IV, t, 153 ; &c Heath proposed « an ^/r*/ </<*?,' 
because the 'joint appearance of rain and sunshine' was more characteristic of that 
month than of May. In Theobald's second edition, although Warburton's change 
is still retained in the text, yet the phrase is cited in the note as < a better day. 9 This 
emendation was adopted, without credit, by Steevens in his edition of 1773 ; in his 
edition of 1778 he says : A better day is the best day, and the best day is a day most 
favourable to the productions of the earth. Such are the days in which there is a 
due admixture of rain and sunshine. The comparative is used by Milton and others, 
instead of the positive and superlative, as well as by Sh. himself in the play before 
us : « The safer sense,' &c. IV, vi, 81 ; ' better part of man.' — Macb. V, viii, 18. 
The thought is taken from Sidney's Arcadia, p. 244 : ' Her tears came dropping 
down like rain in sunshine.' Cordelia's behaviour is apparently copied from Philo- 
clea's. The same book, in another plaoe, says : ' her tears followed one another like 
a precious rope of pearl.' In this same edition of Steevens in 1778 a note is given 
by Tollet in which he suggests that 'a better day' or «a better May* is better 
than Warburton's alteration, because it implies that sunshine prevails over rain, 
whereas Warburton's 'wetter May' implies that Cordelia's sorrow excelled her 
patience. Malonb adopted Toilet's emendation, without credit, in the following 
note : If a better day means either a good day, or the best day, it cannot represent 
Cordelia's smiles and tears ; for neither the one nor the other necessarily implies rain, 
without which there is nothing to correspond with her tears; nor can a rainy day, 
occasionally brightened by sunshine, with any propriety be called a good or the best 
day. We are compelled, therefore, to make some other change. A better May, on 
the other hand, whether we understand by it a good May, or a May better than ordi- 
nary, corresponds exactly with the preceding image ; for in every May, rain may be 
expected, and in a good, or better May than ordinary, the sunshine, like Cordelia's 
smiles, will predominate. Mr Steevens has quoted a passage from Sidney's Arcadia. 
Perhaps the following passage in the same book, p. 163, ed. 1593, bears a still nearer 
resemblance to that before us : * And with that she prettily smiled, which mingled 
with her tears, one could not tell whether it were a mourning pleasure or a delightful 
sorrow ; but like when a few April drops are scattered by a gentle zephyrus among 
fine-coloured flowers.' [To the citations which he had previously given] Steevens 
afterwards added the following : Again in A Courtlie Controversie of Cupid's Cautels, 
&c, translated from the French, &c. by H. W. [Henry Wotton], 1578, p. 289: 
' Who hath viewed in the spring time, raine and sunne-shine in one moment, might 
beholde the troubled countenance of the gentlewoman, after she had read and over- 
read the letters of her Floradin with an eye now smyling, then bathed in teares.' 
Singer, in his first edition, gives a note, with which he ' had been favoured by Mr 
Boaden': ' " Her smiles and tears Were like ; a better way." That is, Cordelia's 
smiles and tears were like the conjunction of sunshine and rain, in a better way or 
manner. Now, in what did this better way consist ? Why, simply in the smiles 
seeming unconscious of the tears; whereas the sunshine has a watery look through 
the falling drops of rain — "Those happy smiles . . . seem'd not to know What guests 
were in her eyes." The passages cited by Steevens and Malone prove that the point 
of comparison was neither a " better day " nor a *' wetter May." I may just observe, 

act iv, sc. iii.] KING LEAR 253 

* That play'd on her ripe Up seem'd not to know 20 

* What guests were in her eyes ; which parted thence 

* As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief, 

* Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved, 

* If all could so become it 

* Kent Made she no verbal question ? 

20. seetn'd] Pope, feeme Qq. 22. In brief] In brief sir, Cap. 

22-24. As'] Lines end sor* 24. question] quests Han. quest 

row. ..all. .it. Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Warb. 
Coll. Sing. Dyce,Wh. Ktly. 

as perhaps an illustration, that the better way of charity is that the right hand should 
not know what the left hand giveth.' Singer adopted this punctuation in both of his 
editions. Whits : Here ' better ' is used, not by way of comparing the May of Cor- 
delia's smiles and tears in degree to another and inferior encounter of sunshine and 
showers, but as an epithet implying eminence (which in its rcry essence is compara- 
tive) to which, in kind, her emotional struggle is likened. This elegant use of the 
comparative form is not uncommon with our best writers. Hudson [reading ' Were 
like : a better way, — '] : The sense is clearly completed at * like,' and should there 
be cut off from what follows : < You have seen sunshine and rain at once ; her smiles 
and tears were like ; ' that is, were like * sunshine and rain at once.' Then begins 
another thought, or another mode of illustration : to speak it in a better way, to 
express it in a better form of words, ' those happy smilets,' &c. And I insist upon 
it that the passage so read is better poetry, as well as better sense and better logic, 
than with < way ' turned into ' May ' or ' day,' and made an adjunct or tag to * like.' 
Deuus follows Boaden in taking the phrase adverbially, but does not follow Boaden's 
punctuation. His text is the same as ours. Cowden Clarke : It means that her 
mingled • smiles and tears' expressed her feelings in 'a better way' than either 

* patience or sorrow ' could do separately; each of which ' strove who should express 
her goodliest.' The words ' her smiles and tears were like a better way,' moreover, 
include comparison with the opening phrase of the speech, * Not to a rage ; ' showing 
that her emotion vented itself in nothing like rage, but (' a better way ') in gentle 

* smiles and tears,' compounded of both ' patience and sorrow.' Wright : It is not 
clear what sense can be made of it The emendations which have been proposed 
are none of them perfectly satisfactory. The substitution of May for ' way ' would 
be well enough but for the adjective * better' which accompanies it. Mobrrly : The 
meaning may be ' a better course of nature,' something better than nature knows. 
Bulloch (p. 246) proposes ' link'd in bright array.' 

22. dropp'd] Steevens : For the sake of rhythm we might read dropping. This 
idea might have been taken from the ornaments of the ancient carcanet or necklace, 
which frequently consisted of table diamonds with pearls appended to them, or, in 
the jeweler's phrase, dropping from them. Pendants for the ear are still called 
drops. A similar thought occurs in Middleton's A Game at Chess [I, i] : < The holy 
dew of prayer lies like pearl Dropt from the opening eye-lids of the morn Upon the 
bashful rose.' Milton has translated this image into his Lycidas : * Under the open* 
ing eye-lids of the morn.' 

24* question] Steevens: Did she enter into no conversation with you? In this 



[act iv, sc. ilL 


*' Gent Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of 

4 father ' 25 

* Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart ; . 

* Cried ' Sisters ! sisters ! Shame of ladies ! sisters ! 

* Kent ! father ! sisters ! What, i' th' storm ? i' th' night ? 

* Let pity not be believed I ' There she shook 

* The holy water from her heavenly eyes, 30 

* And clamour moisten'd ; then away she started 

2$. /aft*,] Om. Pope. K*,Theob.+, 

25-32. Faith...alone] In Qq no punc- 
tuation throughout but commas, except 
Ladies Jifters : in Q,, and Ladies fijlers ; 
and night t Q,. Kent is in italics, as 
though he were the speaker of what fol- 
lows, with a comma after it in Q,, and a 
full stop in Q, ; but no indenture in either 

25. she., father^ One line, Pope. 
7, 28. Shame. ..father / sisters /] Om. 
Pope, Han. 

storm f V th* night] Jtorme ith 

night Qq. storm of night Pope, Han. 

29. pity not be believed] pitie not be 
beleeftQ t . pitty not be beleeu 'd Q,. pity 
ne'er believe it Pope + . it not be believed 
Cap. pity not believe it Jen. 
There] Then Pope. 

31. And clamour moisten'd;"] Cap. 
And clamour moijlened her, Qq, Johns. 
Jen. Om. Pope, Han. And, clamour* 
motion' d 9 Theob. Warb. And clamour 
soften' d: Cartwright. 

31, 32. then away she started. ..alone] 
And then retired... alone (reading And 
...alone as one line), Pope, Han. 

sense Sh. frequently uses this word, and not simply as the act of interrogation. Did 
she give you to understand her meaning by words as well as by the foregoing external 
testimonies of sorrow ? 

28. Kent !J Capell [led by the text of Q,, supposed that Kent here interrupts 
with the exclamation, * Father ! sisters ! ' and so printed his text, and was followed 
by Eccles] : Any mention of Kent, by ejaculation or otherwise, was not probable 
to come from Cordelia ; and most unfit for this place, — to rank with ' father ' and 

* sisters ' (indeed, take the lead of them) in the sorrows of that lady ; as repetitions, 
and in a tone of admiring approaching something to sarcasm, the words have pro- 
priety ; for this is convey'd by them, — 'Father indeed ; And what sisters I ' they are 
heard by the Gentleman, but don't interrupt him ; pass with him for an hemistich, 
and he goes on in another. 

29. believed 1] Steevens : Let not such a thing as pity be supposed to exist 1 
Schmidt : Verse and sense are improved [by Capell's reading of] it for « pity. 1 

31. clamour moisten'd] Warburton: Though 'clamour' may distort the 
mouth, it is cot wont to moisten the eyes. Read « clamour- motiorid? She bore her 
grief hitherto, says the relater, in silence ; but being no longer able to contain it, she 
flies away, and retires to her closet to deal with it in private. This he finely calls 

• clamour-motion'd/ or provoked to a loud expression of her sorrow, which drives 
her from company. Theobald : It is not impossible, but Sh. may have form'd this 
fine picture of Cordelia's agony from Holy Writ, in the conduct of Joseph, who, 
being no longer able to restrain the vehemence of his affection, commanded all his 
retinue from his presence, and then wept aloud, and discovered himself to # his 
brethren. Johnson : The sense is good of the old reading, ' Clamour moistened 


act iv, sc. iii.] KING LEAR 255 

* To deal with grief alone. 

* Kent. It is the stars, 32 

* The stars above us, govern our conditions ; 

* Else one self mate and mate could not beget 

* Such different issues. You spoke not with her since? 35 

32. // is the stars,] Ora. Pope, Han. 34. and mate] and make Q,. 
32,33. /(...conditions /]Theob. One 35. You spoke not] Spoke you Pope +. 

line, Qq. since f\ftnce. Q,. 

34. self mate] self -mate Pope+. 

her/ that is, her outcries were accompanied with tears. Heath : The hyphen should 
be omitted, and ' clamour moisten'd' pronounced and considered as two distinct words. 
Cordelia had at first broke out into exclamations ; then followed the tears, with which, 
when she had moistened these exclamations (for the words under consideration are 
an ablative absolute), she retired to the farther indulgence of her grief in private. 
Capell: 'Clamour* may stand for the exclamations preceding, which Cordelia 
* moistens ' with the tears which followed them instantly; or it may be put with more 
boldness for a grief ready to burst out into ' clamour,' taken strictly and properly ; 
which she * moisten'd,' allayed by moistening, with the tears that then broke from 
her, as winds are by rain. White [reading < And, clamour-moisten'd, then '] : That 
is, plainly enough, 'And with her cheeks wet with her outburst of sorrow, away she 
started,' &c. So in this play, V, iii, 205 : ' This would have seem'd a period To such 
as love not sorrow. • • • Whilst I was big in clamour, came there a man.' The 
reader will not wonder at a Note on this passage, when he sees it in all recent editions 
hitherto with this astounding punctuation : ' And clamour moisten'd : then,' and the 
explanation that ' she ' is the nominative to ' moisten'd,' and that Cordelia moistened 
her clamour ! Hudson [adopting White's text] : I cannot say that the reading here 
given altogether satisfies me ; but it seems, on the whole, the best both in sense and 
in language. The meaning of ' clamour-moisten'd ' is, her voice being smothered with 
weeping, or her crying drenched with tears. Walker (Crit. i, 157) : Write * • — her 
heavenly eyes, And clamour-moisten'd.' (luctu madentes.) * Clamour ' here signifies 
wailing. Compare V, iii, 205. [Cited by White.] Delius : « Moisten'd ' is here 
used intransitively: clamour became moist. Schmidt (Lex.) gives examples of 
' clamour ' bearing the following meanings : outcry, vociferation ; loud wailing (the 
present passage cited); the sound of bells; of cannon; of the thunder; of trumpets 
and drums ; of tempests ; of the noise of a chase, a battle, &c. Wright : The 
objection to Walker's interpretation is, that ' clamour' is the outcry, and not the tears 
by which it was accompanied, but perhaps the clamour is the indirect cause of the 
tears. [Assuredly. — Ed.] For the construction, compare Hen. V: II, ii, 139 : • the 
full fraught man and best endued.' There is probably some corruption. Moberlyx 
Shed tears upon her cry of sorrow. [Of this corrupt phrase in this corrupt scene 
(perhaps the most corrupt throughout Shakespeare's plays), I can see but two note- 
worthy explanations: Capell's, viz: she moisten'd her clamour; and Walker's, viz: 
her eyes that were heavenly and wet with wailing. Of the two I much prefer the 
latter. — Ed.] 

33. conditions] Malone : Disposition, temper, quality. 

34. 8 elf mate and mate] Johnson: The same husband and the same wife. 
[See 'that self metal.' I, i, 68.] 



[act iv. SC. iti. 

* Gent. No. 36 

* Kent, Was this before the king return'd ? 

* Gent No, since. 

* Kent. Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's f th* town ; 

* Who sometime in his better tune remembers 

* What we are come about, and by no means 40 

* Will yield to see his daughter. 
Gent. Why, good sir ? 
Kent. A sovereign shame so elbows him ; his own un- 


* That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her 

* To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights 

* To his dog-hearted daughters ; these things sting 45 

* His mind so venomously that burning shame 

* Detains him from Cordelia. 

* Gent. Alack, poor gentleman ! 

* Kent. Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not ? 

* Gent. Tis so they are afoot 

38. Well, sir,] Om. Pope, Han. 
Liar's 1? th f ] Lear's ith Qq. Lear's 

in Pope+. Lear is in Han. Lear is C 
the Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Del. Glo. + . 

39. sometime] fame time Q,. some- 
times Pope+, Jen. Ec Knt. 

40,41. rVhat..ulaughter.]AsbyVo^t. 
One line, Qq. 

42. so elbows him ; his own] fo elbows 
him his own Q s . fo elbowes him, his own 
Q a . so bows him, his Pope, so bows him; 
his Theob. Han. Warn, so bows him. 

His Johns, so bows him : his own Cap. 

45-47. To...Cordelia.] Johns. Two 
lines, the first ending mind, Qq. Lines 
end him...him... Cordelia Pope+. 

45, 46. sting His mind] sting him 
Pope, Theob, Han. Warb. 

47. from] From his Pope Theob. 
Han. Warb. 

48. not?] not. Q f . 

49. so] Qq, Johns, Coll. Dyce, Wh. 
said Warb. Ktly. so; Cap. Steev. Ec. 
Var. Knt, Cam. so, Pope et cet. 

42. so elbows him] To Bailey (ii, 99) the best emendation appears to be • sole 
bars him, i. e. alone prevents him ; ' and, furthermore, he thinks that it will be no- 
ticed that 'the verbal change is not great: sole bars, so elbows.' Badham (Cam. 
Essays, 1856, p. 282) : A more incongruous figure of speech than this it would be 
difficult to imagine. Sovereigns • elbow ' no one, and such an expression as ' sov- 
ereign shame ' is either beautiful or the reverse, as the epithet is borne out by the 
action or effect attributed to ' shame.' There is also something careless in having two 
subjects to the verb ' sting ' ; first unkindness, and then the conditions of which the 
unkindness was the cause. I therefore propose to read: 'so embows his own unkind- 
ness.' Wright : So stands at his elbow and reminds him of the past. Compare 
2 Hen. IV: I, ii, 81. Moberly : A prevailing shame seems to buffet him. Schmidt : 
Perhaps it means so pushes him aside. 

49. 'Tis so] Johnson : So it is that they are on foot. M alone : That is, I have 
heard of them ; they do not exist in report only ; they are actually on fooL 

ACT IV, SC. 1V.1 



* Kent Well, sir, I '11 bring you to our master Lear, 50 

* And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause 

* Will in concealment wrap me up awhile ; 

* When I am known aright, you shall not grieve 

* Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go 

♦Along with me. \Exeunt* 55 

Scene IV. The same. .A tent 

Enter, with drum and colours, Cordelia, Do&or, and Soldiers. 

Cor. Alack, 'tis he. Why, he was met even now 
As mad as the vex'd sea ; singing aloud ; 
Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds, 

54, 55. Lending... me.] Jen. One line, 
Qq, Pope+, Cap. Two lines, the first 
ending acquaintance, Del. 

54. /...go] Pray Pope+. Pray you, 

55. [Exeunt.] Pope. Exit. Qq. 
Scene iv.] Pope. Scena Tenia. Ff 

(Scsena F 9 ). Rowe. Scene v. Ec. 

The same. A tent.] Cap. A 
Camp* Rowe. 
Enter...] Enter... Cordelia, Gentlemen, 

and Souldiours. Ff. Enter Cordelia 
Doctor, and others. Qq. Enter Cor 
delia. Physician, and Soldiers. Pope. 

2. mad as] made FJF 4 , Rowe 
vex*d] vext Ff. vent Qq. 

3. fumiter] femiter Qq. fumuer 1 
Theob. + , Cap. Jen. Fenilar Ff, Rowe, 
Pope, fumitory Han. 

furrow-weeds] farrow weeds Boo 

51. dear cause] See I, iv, 266. 

3, &c Farren (Essays on Mania, 1833, p. 73) calls attention to the character of 
all these plants, that they are of * bitter, biting, poisonous, pungent, lurid, and dis- 
tracting properties. Thus Lear's crown is admirably descriptive or emblematic of 
the sources and variety of the disease under which he labours. The mixture of such 
flowers and plants could not be the effect of chance.* He justifies his assertion 
by showing that * the leaves of " Fumitory " 'are of a bitter taste, and the juice was 
formerly employed for its bitterness in hypochondrism and black jaundice by Hoff- 
man and others.' ' Harlock, the wild mustard of our cornfields, is called indifferently 
charlock, garlock, warlock, and by Fitzherbert, and other old English writers, hedlock. 
The seeds of this plant form the pungent Durham mustard, as those of Sinapis alba 
form the white mustard, and those of Sinapis nigra the common mustard* The 
plant rises with a stem of about nine inches, thickly set with hairs or bristles. Hence 
the proper name should be probably hair-lock, as in Danish they call the "darnell " 
heyre and heyre-grass. As the bitter pungency is referred to in the former case, the 
biting pungency is referred to here. " Hemlock " is generally known to be poisonous. 
" Nettles," called Urtica urens from its well-known irritating power of stinging and 
burning. " Cuckoo-flowers." Cardamine pratensis, Linn. The flowers, the sysym- 
orium of Dioscorides, were employed among the Greeks and Romans for almost all 
22* R 

«8 KING LEAR [act IV, SC. tr. 

With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, 4 

4. burdocks] Han. Johns. Cap. Jen. Knt,Sing. hoar-docks Coll. i, Del. Dycc 

Sta. Wh. Glo. Cam. Dycc ii, Coll. iii. i, Ktly, Huds. hor-docks Wr. hediokes 

hordocks Qq. Hardokes F t F,. Har> Nicholson.* 

docks F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Pope, Theob. Warb. 4. nettles'] nettle Johns. 

Sch. harlocks Farmer, Steev. Ec. Var. cuckoo] cookow Q,. coockow Q,. 

affections of the head. They hold at present a place in the Pharmacopoeia as a 
remedy for convulsions, epilepsy, and other diseases of the brain or intellect. 
" Darnel." Lolium temulentum, Linn. Called temulentiim from its intoxicating or 
narcotic powers, when taken alone, or mixed with malt. From this deleterious prop- 
erty it is termed by Virgil infelix lolium, lurid lolium, and by the French ivraie m 
whence our own vulgar name for it of toray-gnss, or drunkard-gnss, 9 

3. fumiter] Ellacombe (p. 75) : Of Fumitories we have five species in England, 
all of them weeds in cultivated grounds and in hedge- rows. None of them can be 
considered garden plants, but they are closely allied to the Cory da lis % of which there 
are several pretty species, and to the very handsome Dielytras % of which one species, 
D. spectabilis, ranks among the very handsomest of our hardy herbaceous plants. 
How the plant acquired its name of Fumitory, fumeterre, earth-smoke, is not very 
satisfactorily explained, though many explanations have been given; but that the 
name was an ancient one, we know from the interesting Stockholm manuscript of 
the eleventh century published by Mr J. Pettigrew, and of which a few lines are 
worth quoting : « Fumiter is erbc, I say, Yt spryngyth i April et in May. In feld, in 
town, in yard, et gate, Yer lond is fat and good in state, Dun red is his flour Ye erbe 
smek lik in colowur.' 

4. burdocks] Farmer : Hardocks should be harlocks. Thus Drayton, in one of 
his Eclogues: «The honeysuckle, the harlocke, The lily, and the lady-smocke.' 
Steevens : The Qq supply what is perhaps the true reading, though misspelt. The 
hoar-dock is the dock with whitish, woolly leaves. Laertes -( Cent. Mag. Ivi, 214) : 
It is very probaDie that charlock was the word intended by Sh. It is called charlock 
by husbandmen, and grows in great quantity amongst the barley. Corn charlock 
(Raphantts Raphanistrum. Linn.). White, or yellow-flowered charlock (Raphanus 
sylvestris). — Geiard, 1597, p. 240. Wright: I find 'hardhake* is given as the 
equivalent of Jacea nigra (or knapweed) in a MS herbal in the library of Trinity 
College, Cambridge (R. 14, 32) ; and in John Russell's Boke of Nurture (Early Eng- 
lish Text Society, 1868), p. 183, is mentioned 'yardehok,' which is apparently a kind 
of hock or mallow. If the botanists could identify the plants mentioned under these 
names, either of them could easily be corrupted into * Hardokes,* or • hor-docks/ 
[It is unfortunate that both Beisly and Ellacombe suppose Farmer's conjecture 
of harlocks to be the original word ; they have, therefore, given us nothing new on 
the subject, and do not mention ' burdocks.' — Ed.] 

4. hemlock] Ellacombe (91) : One of the most poisonous of a suspicious family 
(the Umbellifera), < the great Hemlocke doubtlesse is not possessed of any one good 
facultie, as appeareth by his lothsome smell and other apparent signes,' and with this 
evil character the Hemlocke was considered to be only fit for the ingredient of 
witches' broth — ' I have been plucking, plants among, Hemlock, henbane, adder's- 
tongue, Night-shade, moonwort, lippard's-bane.' — Jonson [ The Masque of Queens]* 
Yet the Hemlock adds largely to the beauty of our hedge-rows; its spotted tall stems 

ACT IV. sc. iv.] KING LEAR 259 

[4. nettles, cuckoo-flowers] 

and its finely cut leaves make it a handsome weed, and the dead stems and dried 
umbels are marked features in the winter appearance of the hedges. As a poison 
it has an evil notoriety, as being the poison by which Socrates was put to death, 
though this is not quite certain. It is not, however, altogether a useless plant. * It 
is a valuable medicinal plant, and in autumn the ripened stem is cut into pieces to 
make reels for worsted thread.' — Johnstone. 

4. nettles] Ellacombe: The Nettle needs no introduction; we are all too well 
acquainted with it, yet it is not altogether a weed to be despised. We have two 
•native species (Urtica urens and U dioica), with sufficiently strong qualities, but we 
have a third (U. pilulifera), very curious in its manner of bearing its female flowers 
in clusters of compact little balls, which is far more virulent than either of our 
native species, and is said by Camden to have been introduced by the Romans to 
chafe their bodies when frozen by the cold of Britain. The story is probably apocryphal, 
but the plant is an alien, and only grows in a few places. Both the Latin and Eng- 
lish names of the plant record its qualities. Urtica is from uro t to burn ; and Nettle 
is etymologically the same word as needle, and the plant is so named, not for its 
stinging qualities, but because at one time the Nettle supplied the chief instrument 
of sewing ; not the instrument which holds the thread, and to which we now confine 
the word needle, but the thread itself, and very good linen it made. The poet 
Campbell says in one of his letters : ' I have slept in Nettle sheets, and dined off a 
Nettle table-cloth, and I have heard my mother say that she thought Nettle cloth 
more durable than any other linen.' It has also been used for making paper, and, 
for both these purposes, as well as for rope-making, the Rhea fibre of the Himalaya, 
which is simply a gigantic Nettle ( Urtica or Bdhmeria nivca), is very largely culti- 
vated. Nor is the Nettle to be despised as an article of food. In many parts of 
England the young shoots are boiled and much relished. In February, 1661, Pepys 
made the entry in his diary : ' We did eat some Nettle porridge which was made on 
purpose to-day for some of their coming, and was very good.' Gipsies are said to 
cook it as an excellent vegetable, and M. Soyer tried hard, but almost in vain, to 
recommend it as a most dainty dish. Having so many uses, we are not surprised to 
find that it has at times been regularly cultivated as a garden crop, so that I have 
somewhere seen an account of tithe of Nettles being taken, and in the old church- 
wardens' account of St. Michael's, Bath, is the entry in the year 1400 : * Pro urticis 
venditis ad Lawrencium Bebbe, 2d.' In other points the Nettle is a most interesting 
plant. Microscopists find in it most beautiful objects for the microscope ; entomol- 
ogists value it, for it is such a favourite of butterflies and other insects that in Britain 
alone upwards of thirty insects feed solely on the Nettle plant, and it is one of those 
curious plants which mark the progress of civilization by following man wherever he 
goes. But as a garden-plant the only advice to be given is to keep it out of the gar- 
den by every means. In good cultivated ground it becomes a sad weed if once 
allowed a settlement. The Himalayan JBdhmerias, however, are handsome, but only 
for their foliage, and though we cannot, perhaps, admit our roadside Dead Nettles, 
which, however, are much handsomer than many foreign flowers which we carefully 
tend and prize, yet the Austrian Dead Nettle (Lamium orvala, Bot. Mag. v, 172) 
may be well admitted as a handsome garden-plant. 

4. cuckoo-flowers] Beisly: The Lychnis Jlos-cuculi, Ragged Robin, a well-known 
meadow and marsh plant, with rose-coloured flowers and deeply-cut narrow segments; 



[act iv, sc. iv. 

Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow 5 

In our sustaining corn. — A century send forth ; 

Search every acre in the high-grown field, 

And bring him to our eye. [Exit an Officer^ — What can 

man's wisdom 
In the restoring his bereaved sense ? 
He that helps him take all my outward worth. 10 

6. sustaining corn.] fu/layning,corne, 
Q, fuftaining. Come, Q,. 

A, ..forth;] Send forth a cenfry: 
Pope, Theob, Han. Warb. 

century] centurieQ^. CenteryF s F r 
sentry Johns. 

send] isfent Qq. is fet Q,. 

8-10. And...worth.] Pope. End wif 

dome...Jielpe him. ...worth in Q t . The 

lines end wifedome do....helpe hint.... 

worth, Q t . End wifedome. ..helpes him..+ 


worth, Ff. End eye...restoring..Jiim 
worth, Cap. 

& [Exit...] Mai. To an Officer, who 
goes out. Cap. Om. QqFf. 

ft, 9. Wliat... sense ?] Do, what man's 
wisdom can, In.. .sense. Bos. conj. 

8. wisdom] wifedome do Q., Cap. 

9. his] Of his Cap. 

sense?] fence, Q,. fence? Q^ 
Senfe: Ff. 

10. helps] can hetpe Qq. 

it blossoms at the time the cuckoo comes, hence one of its names. WftlGHT: Called 
also, according to Gerarde, ladies' smocks and wild watercress (Cardamine pratensis). 
They ' flower for the most part in Aprill and Made, when the Cuckowe doth begin to 
sing her pleasant notes without stammering/ — Herbatt, p. 203. 

5. Darnel] Ellacombe : Virgil, in his Fifth Eclogue, says : < Grandia ssspe quibtts 
xnandavimus hordea sulcis Infelix lolium et steriles nascuntur avense.' Thus trans- 
lated by Thomas Newton, 1587 : ' Sometimes there sproutes abundant store Of bag- 
gage, noisome weeds, Burres, Brembles, Darnel, Cockle, Dawke, Wild Oates, and 
choaking seedes.' And the same is repeated in the first Georgic, and in both places 
lolium is always translated Darnel, and so by common consent Darnel is identified 
with the Lolium temulentum % or wild rye grass. But in Shakespeare's time Darnel, 
like Cockle, was the general name for any hurtful weed. In the old translation of 
the Bible, the Zizania, which is now translated Tares, was sometimes translated 
Cockle, and .Newton, writing in Shakespeare's time, says : ' Under the name of 
Cockle and Darnel is comprehended all vicious, noisom and unprofitable grainc, en- 
combring and hindring good come.' — Herball to the Bible. The Darnel is not only 
injurious from choking the corn, but its seeds become mixed with the true Wheat, and 
so in Dorsetshire, and perhaps in other parts, it has the name of ' Cheat ' (Barnes's 
Glossary), from its false likeness to Wheat. It was this false likeness that got for it 
its bad character. * Darnell, or Juray,' says Lyte, Herbal, 1578, ' is a vitious grain e 
that combereth or anoyeth corne, especially Wheat, and in his knotten straw, blades, 
or leaves is like unto Wheate.' 

5. idle] Unproductive, unprofitable, in opposition to ' sustaining corn.' See « idle 
pebble,' IV, vi, 21. — Ed. 

8. can] Compare Ham. IV, vii, 85 : ' they can well on horseback.' 

9. the restoring] For instances of the definite article preceding a verbal that is 
followed by an object, see Abbott, § 93, or Afacb. I, iv, 8. 

10. helps] For other instances, meaning to cure, see Schmidt {Lex.). 

ACT IV, sc. iv.] KING LEAR 26 1 

Do ft. There is means, madam ; II 

Our foster-nurse of nature is repose, 
The which he lacks ; that to provoke in him, 
Are many simples operative, whose power 
Will close the eye of anguish. 

Car. All blest secrets, i$ 

All you unpublish'd virtues of the earth, 
Spring with my tears ! be aidant and remediate 
In the good man's distress I Seek, seek for him ; 
Lest his ungovern'd rage dissolve the life 
That wants the means to lead it 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. News, madam. 20 

The British powers are marching hitherward. 

Cor. Tis known before ; our preparation stands 
In expe&ation of them. — O dear father, 

11. Doct] Gent. Ff. 1 8. good man's] Gdodmans T s F r 

is] are Rowe+, Jen. distress] defiresF t FJF r defireF^ 

12. foster-nurse] Hyphen, Steev. Rowe. 

13. lacks; that] lackes that Q,. laches; 20, 21. Ncws..Jiitherward.] One line, 
that Q,. Qq. 

15, 16. t ] One line, Qq. 23, 25. In....France] Two lines, the 

17. remediate] remediant Johns. first ending it is, Ktly. 

11. Kellogg (Sh.*s Delineation of Insanity % p. 26) : The reply of the Physician 
is significant, and worthy of careful attention, as embracing a brief summary of 
almost the only true principles recognized by modern science, and now carried out 
by the most eminent physicians in the treatment of the Insane. We find here no 
allusion to the scourgings, the charms, the invocation of saints, &c., employed by the 
most eminent physicians of the time of Sh. ; neither have we any allusion to the 
rotary chairs, the vomitings, the purgings by hellebore, the showerings, the bleed- 
ings, scalp-shavings, and blisterings, which, even down to our own times, have been 
inflicted upon these unfortunates by 'science falsely so called,' and which stand 
recorded as imperishable monuments of medical folly ; but in place of all this, Sh., 
speaking through the mouth of the Physician, gives us the principle, simple, truthful, 
and universally applicable. 

15. anguish] Wright: Generally used in Sh. of physical pain. See IV, vi, 6. 

17. remediate] Wright: A word of Shakespeare's coinage, which he seems to 
have formed on the model of immediate. 

19. ungoverned] Delius: That is, ungovernable. Adjectives formed from par- 
ticiples, with the negative *»-, not unfrequently admit of this modification of their 
Original meaning. [See I, iv, 294; IV, vi, 21 ; or Abbott, $ 375.] 

20. means] Johnson : The reason which should guide it. 



|act iv, sc r. 

It is thy business that I go about ; 

Therefore great France 

My mourning and important tears hath pitied. 

No blown ambition doth our arms incite, 

But love, dear love, and our aged father's right ; 

Soon may I hear and see him I 

Scene V. Gloucester's castle. 



Enter Regan and Oswald. 

Reg. But are my brother's powers set forth ? 
Osw. Ay, madam. 

Reg. Himself in person there ? 

Osw. Madam, with much ado. 

Your sister is the better soldier. 
Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home ? 

24, 25. IL..France] Johns. One line* 

26. mourning and] Om. Han. (read- 
ing Therefore. ..pitied as one line). 

important] importuned Ff, Rowe, 
Sch. importunate Cap. 

27. No] Now F 3 F 4 . 

incite] in fight Q x . infleQ^. 

28. right] Rite F x F a . 

29. [Exeunt.] Exit. Qq. Om. Jen. 
Scene v.] Pope. Scena Quarta. Ff 

(Scsena F 9 ). Scene hi. Ec. 

Gloucester's castle.] Cap. (subs.). 
Regan's Palace. Rowe. 

Oswald.] Steward. QqFf. 

1.2. But. ..Himself] One line, Cap. 
Steev. Bos. Knt, Sing. 

2. there] Om. Qq. 
Madam,] Om. Pope+. 

ado.] ado, Qq. ado: F t . adot 
F.F,F 4 . 

2. 3. Madam.. .soldier,] One line, Qq. 

3. sister is] fftet>s Q a . 

4. lord] Lady Qq, Pope+. 

26. important] Johnson : For importunate. Schmidt (Lex.) gives the follow* 
ing parallel instances: Com. of Err. V, 138; Much Ado, -II, i, 74; AWs Well, III, 
vii, 21 ; to which perhaps might be added Ham. I, ii, 23. Moberly: So the Fron- 
deur party under the Duke of Beaufort was called by the court of Anne of Austria, 
• Les Importans.' Schmidt : Undoubtedly Sh. uses ' important ' for importunate, 
urgent, pressing, but importuned can be justified quite as fully in the same meaning. 

28. aged] Abbott, § 497 : A monosyllable. 

4. lord] Ritson : The Ff are right. Goneril not only converses with Lord Ed- 
mund, in the Steward's presence, but prevents him from speaking to, or even seeing, 
her husband. M alone: In the MSS from which the Qq were printed an L only 
was probably set down, according to the mode of that time. It could be of no con- 
sequence to Regan whether Edmund spoke with Goneril at home, as they had 
travelled together from the Earl of Gloucester's castle to the Duke of Albany's 
palace, and had on the road sufficient opportunities for laying those plans of which 
Regan was apprehensive. On the other hand, Edmund's abrupt departure without 
«ven speaking to the Duke, to whom he was sent on a commission, could not but 
appear mysterious and excite her jealousy. [Essentially, Capell's note. — Ed.] 

act iv f sc v.] KING LEAR 263 

Osw. No, madam. 5 

Reg. What might import my sister's letter to him ? 

Osw. I know not, lady. 

Reg. Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter. 
It was great ignorance, Gloucester's eyes being out, 
To let him live ; where he arrives he moves 10 

All hearts against us ; Edmund, I think, is gori£, 
In pity of his misery, to dispatch 
His nighted life ; moreover, to descry 
The strength o* th' enemy. 

Osw. I must needs after him, madam, with my letter. 15 

Reg. Our troops set forth to-morrow ; stay with us. 
The ways are dangerous. 

Osw. I may not, madam. 

My lady charged my duty in this business. 

Reg. Why should she write to Edmund ? Might not yon 
Transport her purposes by word ? Belike, 20 

Some things, — I know not what I '11 love thee much,— 
Let me unseal the letter. 

Osw. Madam, I had rather— 

6. letter] letters Q s . 17, 18. f may ...fastness.] Prose, Qq. 

8. serious] aferious Q a . 19, 20. Might...Belike^\ As in Qq. 

1 1. Edmund] and new Qq. One line, Ff. 

1 2-14. Two lines, the first ending life, 20. by word? Betihe,] by word, belike 

Qq. Qq. byword ?¥oyt. by word of mouth t 

14. o 9 th' enemy] oth 9 Enemy TJF^. Han. 

afh army Q t . of the Army Q^. 21. Some things,] Ff, Rowe, Sch. 

15. madam] Om. Qq. SomethingQq. Something— Popeetcet, 
letter] Letters Qq. 22. I had] Vde Q g . Ide Q,. 

16. troops set] troopefets Qq. 

22. rather] Johnson : I know not well why Sh. gives to Oswald, who is a mere 
factor of wickedness, so much fidelity. He now refuses the letter ; and afterwards, 
when he is dying, thinks only how it may be safely delivered. Verplanck : Sh. has 
here incidentally painted, without the formality of a regular moral lesson, one of the 
very strange and very common self-contradictions of our enigmatical nature. Zealous, 
honourable, even self-sacrificing fidelity, — sometimes to a chief or leader, sometimes 
to a party, a faction, or a gang, — appears to be so little dependent on any principle 
of virtuous duty, that it is often found strongest among those who have thrown off 
the common restraints of morality. It would seem that when man's obligations to 
his God or his kind are rejected or forgotten, the most abandoned mind still craves 
something for the exercise of its natural social sympathies, and as it loses sight of 
nobler and truer duties becomes, like the Steward, more and more ' duteous to the 
▼ices ' of its self-chosen masters. This is one of the moral phenomena of artificial 



[act iv, sc v 

Reg. I know your lady does not love her husband ; 
I am sure of that ; and at her late being here 
She gave strange oeiliads and most speaking looks 
To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom. 

Osw. I, madam? 

Reg. I speak in understanding ; y* are ; I know't 
Therefore I do advise you, take this note : 
My lord is dead ; Edmund and I have talk'd ; 
And more convenient is he for my hand 
Than for your lady's ; you may gather more. 
If you do find him, pray you, give him this ; 
And when your mistress hears thus much from you, 
I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her. 





24. /wkJ/'jr Pope +, Jen. SttuDyce 
ii, Huds. 

25. gave strange] gave Warb. (in text). 
gave him Warb. (in note). 

ailiads] Rowe. aliadsQq. Eliads 
F s , Sch. Iliads F,F,F 4 . oeiliads Jen. 
ceillades Cap. eyeliads Dyce i. eyliads 
Del. ctillades Glo.+, Mob. aHlliads 
Dyce ii. 

26. you are"] you're Pope+, Huds. 

27. madam /*] Madam. Qq. 

28. y are; I know 9 /] Ff (subs.), Jen. 
for I know't Qq. You'ri; I know 1 1 
Rowe i. you are, I know ii Cap. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Knt 9 Del. Sing. Ktly. / are, 
I know it Coll. Wh. you are, Iknotdi 
Dyce, Sta. y y are, I Anow*t Sch. you 
are; I know' t Rowe ii et cet. 

32. lady's] Rowe. Ladies QqFf. 

35t 36. One line, Qq, Pope, Theob. 
Warb. Johns. Jen. 

society, so much within the range of Johnson's observation, as an acute observer of 
life, that it is strange that he should not have recognized its truth in Oswald's cha- 

25. oeiliads] Wright : See Cotgrave : ' Oeillade : An amorous looke, affectionate 
winke, wanton aspect, lustfull iert, or passionate cast, of the eye ; a Sheepes eye.' 

26. bosom] Wright: In her confidence. Compare Jul. Oes. V, i, 7 : « I am in 
their bosoms.' And Beau, and Fl. A King and No King, I, i : « should I chuse a 
companion ... for honesty to interchange my bosom with, it should be you.' 

2C>. note] Johnson : This is not a letter, but a remark. Therefore observe what 
I am saying. Delius, however, maintains that it is a letter, the same which he 
thinks is referred to farther on, in line 23* In justification he cites, * take thou this 
note,' V, iii, 28. 

33. this] Capell suggested that she here gives him a ring, but Grey (or ' Mr 
Smith/ apud Grey, ii, 114), reading in line 29 'take note ^/"this/ says that it 
means : * This answer by word of mouth,' maintaining that it could not have been a 
letter, because when Oswald was afterwards killed by Edgar, and his pockets rifled, 
only one letter was found, and that was Goneril's ; see IV, vi, 248. White : That 
is, this information, but, possibly, some token. 

35. to her] Hudson : Regan's cold, shrewd, penetrating virulence is well shown 
in this. ' Desire her call her wisdom to her ' means, in plain English, < Tell her to 

ACT IV, sc vi.] 



So, fare you well. 36 

If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor, 
Preferment falls on him that cuts him off. 

Osw. Would I could meet him, madam I I should show 
What party I do follow. 

Reg. Fare thee well. {Exeunt 40 

Scene VI. Fields near Dover. 

Enter Gloucester, and Edgar dressed like a feasant. 

Glou. When shall I come to th' top of that same hill ? 

Edg. You do climb up it now. Look, how we labour. 

Glou. Methinks the ground is even. 
Edg. Horrible steep. 

Hark, do you hear the sea? 

Glou. No, truly. 

Edg. Why then your other senses grow imperfect 

36. So, fare you well] fo farewell ty\ % 
Pope+, Jen. Om. Han. 

39. him] Om. F t . 

would Qq et cet. 

40. party] lady Qq f Pope. 

[Exeunt.] Exit. Qq. 
Scene vi.] Pope. Scena Quinta. Ff 
(Scaena F,). 

Fields...] Cap. The Country. 
Rowe. The Country, near Dover. 
Enter...] Theob. (subs.) Enter Glou- 

cefter, and Edgar. Ff. Enter Gfofter 
and Edmund. Qq. 

1. I] we Qq, Jen. Steev. Ec Var. 
Knt, Glo.+. 

2. upii\ itvpQq. 
labour.] labour ? Qq. 

3. even] eeuen F t F t . 
Horrible] Horribly Coll. (MS). 

3, 4. Horrible. .jea ?] One line, Qq, 
Jen. Ktly. 

4. Hark, do you] Hark , hark; do yon 
art Cap. 

Ho, truly.] Ho truly, not Han. 

help herself, if she can, and be hanged.' Moberly : And give up all thought of 

Scene VI.] Johnson: This scene, and the stratagem by which Gloucester is cured 
of his desperation, are wholly borrowed from Sidney's Arcadia. [See Hunter's 
note, IV, vi, 66, and Appendix, p. 386.] 

1. bill] Delius : The cliff referred to by Gloucester at the end of IV, i. 

2. climb up it] Wright : For the transposition of the preposition in the Qq, see 
North's Plutarch, Pelopidas, p. 324 (ed. 1631) : « Notwithstanding, when they came to 
the hills, they sought forcibly to clime them vp.' And Isaiah, xv, 5, < with weeping 
shall they go it up.' 

3. Horrible] Collier : The (MS) pedantically alters this to horribly. Abbott, 
% 1, gives many instances of the use of adjectives as adverbs. See Ham. I, iii, Il6> 

how prodigal the soul ' ; II, i, 3, < marvellous wisely.' 

266 KING LEAR [act iv, sc. vL 

By your eyes* anguish. 

Glou. So may it be indeed; 6 

Methinks thy voice is alter'd, and thou speak'st 
In better phrase and matter than thou didst 

Edg. Y' are much deceived In nothing am I changed 
But in my garments. 

Glou. Methinks y* are better spoken. io 

Edg. Come on, sir; here's the place. Standstill. How 

6. eyes'] eye*s Johns. io. Methinks] Sure Pope+. 

7. altered] altered Qq, Sen. / are] QJFf, Coll. Sing. Wh. 
speaVst] sfeakeft 0^ Ktly, Sch. far Q,. you art Cap. 

8. /if] With Qq. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, DeL * you're 

9. V are] Q,Ff, ColL Sing. Wh. Ktly, Rowe et cet 

Sch. Var Q,. You are Steev. Ec. 11. Two lines, the first ending Jir % in 

Var. Knt, Del. You're Rowe et cet. Ff, Rowe. 

7. alter'd] Johnson: Edgar alters his voice in order to pass afterwards for a 
malignant spirit. 

11. How fearful, &c] Johnson : This description has been much admired since 
the time of Addison, who has remarked, with a poor attempt at pleasantry, that * he 
who can read it without being giddy has a very good head, or a very bad one.' The 
description is certainly not mean, but I am far from thinking it wrought to the utmost 
excellence of poetry. He that looks from a precipice finds himself assailed by one 
great and dreadful image of irresistible destruction. But this overwhelming idea is 
dissipated and enfeebled from the instant that the mind can restore itself to the obser- 
vation of particulars, and diffuse its attention to distinct objects. The enumeration 
of the choughs and crows, the samphire-man and the fishers, counteracts the great 
effect of the prospect, as it peoples the desert of intermediate vacuity, and stops the 
mind in the rapidity of its descent through emptiness and horror. Mason : It is to 
be considered that Edgar is describing an imaginary precipice, and is not therefore 
supposed to be so strongly impressed with the dreadful prospect of inevitable destruc- 
tion as a person would be who really found himself on the brink of one. Eccles : 
The purpose of Edgar was, by a minute and faithful detail of such circumstances, to 
give the highest possible air of probability to the imposition which he designed to 
practise on his father. Knight : In Dr Johnson's criticism we detect much of the 
peculiar* character of his mind, as well as of the poetical taste of the age in which he 
lived. Wordsworth, in the preface to the second edition of his Poems, has shown 
clearly upon what false foundations that criticism is built which would prefer high- 
sounding words, conveying only indeterminate ideas, and call these the only propei 
language of poetry, in opposition ' to the simple and distinct language, ' however 
naturally arranged, and according to the strict laws of metre,' which by such criti- 
cism is denominated prosaic. Johnson was thoroughly consistent in his dislike of 
the ' observation of particulars ' and the * attention to distinct objects.' In Boswell's 
Life we have a more detailed account of his poetical creed, with reference to this 
very description of Dover Cliff: 'Johnson said that the description of the temple, in 

act iv, sc. vi.] KING LEAR 267 

[11. Dover Cliff.] 

The Mourning Bride, was the finest poetical passage he had ever read; he recol- 
lected none in Sh. equal to it, — 

" How reverend is the face of this tall pile, 
Whose ancient pillars rear .their marble heads, 
To bear aloft its arch'd and pond'rous roof; 
By its own weight made steadfast and immoveable. 
Looking tranquillity I It strikes an awe 
And terror on my aching sight. The tombs 
And monumental caves of death look cold. 
And shoot a chilliness to my trembling heart I'* 

" But," said Garrick, all alarmed for the god of his idolatry, " we know not the 
extent and variety of his powers. We are to suppose there are such passages in his 
works ; Sh. must not suffer for the badness of our memories." Johnson, diverted by 
this enthusiastic jealousy, went on with great ardour — " No, sir; Congreve has nature" 
(smiling on the tragic eagerness of Garrick); but, composing himself, he added, 
" Sir, this is not comparing Congreve on the whole with Sh. on the whole, but only 
maintaining that Congreve has one finer passage than any that can be found in Sh. 
. . . What I mean is, that you can show me no passage where there is simply a 
description of material objects, without any intermixture of moral notions, which 
produces such an effect." Mr Murphy mentioned Shakespeare's description of the 
night before the battle of Agincourt; but it was observed it had men in it. Mr 
Davies suggested the speech of Juliet, in which she figures herself awaking in the 
tomb of her ancestors. Some one mentioned the description of Dover Cliff. John* 
son — "No, sir; it should be all precipice, — all vacuum. The crows impede your 
fall. The diminished appearance of the boats, and other circumstances, are all very 
good description, but do not impress the mind at once with the horrible idea of 
immense height. The impression is divided ; you pass on, by computation, from one 
stage of the tremendous space to another. Had the girl in Tke Mourning Bride 
Said she could not cast her shoe to the top of one of the pillars in the temple, it 
would not have aided the idea, but weakened it." ' Taken as pieces of pure descrip- 
tion, there is only one way of testing the different value of the passages in Sh. and 
Congreve — that is, by considering what ideas the mind receives from the different 
modes adopted to convey ideas. But the criticism of Johnson, even if it could have 
established that the passage of Congreve, taken apart, was ' finer' than that of Sh., 
utterly overlooks the dramatic propriety of each passage. The ' girl ' in The Mourn- 
ing Bride is soliloquizing, — uttering a piece of versification, harmonious enough, 
indeed, but without any dramatic purpose. The mode in which Edgar describes the 
cliff is for the special information of the blind Gloucester,— one who could not look 
from a precipice. The crows and choughs, the samphire-gatherer, the fisherman, the 
bark, the surge that is seen but not heard,— each of these, incidental to the place, is 
selected as a standard by which Gloucester can., measure the altitude of the cliff. 
Transpose the description into the generalities of Congreve's description of the 
cathedral, and the dramatic propriety at least is utterly destroyed. The height of 
the cliff is then only presented as ah image to Gloucester's mind upon the vague 
assertion of his conductor. Let the description begin, for example, something after 
the fashion of Congreve : ' How fearful is the edge of this high cliff 1 ' and continue 
with a proper assortment of chalky crags and gulfs below. Of what worth then 
would be Edgar's concluding lines: •I'll look no more,' &c? The mind of 

268 KING LEAR [activ,8C.vL 

And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low! 12 

The crows and choughs that wing the midway air 

Show scarce so gross as beetles. Half way down 

Hangs one that gathers sampire, dreadful trade ! 15 

12. diziy] dizi Q,. dity Q^JZy I5« sampire} QqFf, Cap. Sch. san> 

dixit F g . phirt Rowe et cet. 

Gloucester might have thus received some ' idea of immense height/ but not an idea 
that he could appreciate ' by computation.' The very defects which Johnson imputes 
to Shakespeare's description constitute its dramatic merit. We have no hesitation in 
saying further, that they constitute its surpassing poetical beauty, apart from its 
dramatic propriety. [Knight quotes a correspondent's assertion that the height of 
the Cliff is 313 feet above high- water mark.] Lessing, in the Supplement to his 
Laocfon, compares this description of Dover Cliff with Milton's description of the 
height whence the King of Glory beholds Chaos : * On heavenly ground they stood, 
and from the shore They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss Outrageous as a sea, 
dark, wasteful, wild, Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds And surging waves, 
as mountains, to assault Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole.'— Am- 
dise Lost, vii, 210. ' This depth,' says Lessing, ' is far greater than Dover Cliff, and 
yet the description of it produces no effect, because there is nothing visible to make 
it real to us, whereas in Sh. this is so admirably managed by the gradual lessening 
of the various objects.' 

15. sampire] Tollet: • Samphire grows in great plenty on most of the sea- 
clifis in this country; it is terrible to see how people gather it, hanging by a rope 
several fathom from the top of the impending rocks, as it were in the air.' — Smith's 
History of Waterford, 1 774, p. 315. Malone: This personage is not a mere crea- 
ture of Shakespeare's imagination, for the gathering of samphire was literally a trade 
or common occupation in his time, it being carried and cried about the streets, and 
much used as a pickle. So, in a song in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, in which the 
cries of London are enumerated under the title of the cries of Rome : ' I ha Rock- 
sampier, Rock-sampier ; Thus go the cries in Rome faire towne,' &c. Again, in 
Venner's Via Recta, &c. 1622 : • Samphire is in like manner preserved in pickle, and 
eaten with meates. It is a very pleasant and familiar sauce, and agreeing with man's 
body.' Dover Cliff was particularly resorted to for this plant. See Drayton's 
Polyolbion y The Eighteenth Song: 'Rob Dover's neighbouring cleeves of sampyre, 
to excite His dull and sickly taste, and stir up appetite.' Wright : Gerarde gives as 
one of its Italian names, « Herba di San Pietro* He says (Herbal! t p. 428) : * Rocke 
Sampier groweth on the rocky cliffes at Douer.' Cotgrave has * Herbe de S. Pierre. 
Sampire, Crestmarin.' Moberly: This samphire -gatherer is the realizing touch in 
the description ; it seems a thing that could not be imagined. Beisly : Crithmum 
maritimum, commonly called St. Peter's Herb and Sea-fennel, is abundant on rocks 
by the sea, flowers dull yellow, with long, glaucous, fleshy leaflets. The plant is 
aromatic, and the young leaves are gathered, preserved in vinegar, and eaten as a 
pickle. It flowers in July, August, and September. Dr W. Turner says of it : ' That 
m Italian it is Sanli Petri herba, from whence we have the name sampere. 1 Evelyn 
in his Acetaria has a receipt for pickling sampier, called the Dover receipt. The 
plants do not grow on any place which the sea covers ; and Sh. noticed this fact in 

act xv, sc. vl] KING LEAR 269 

Methinks he seems no bigger than his head 16 

The fishermen that walk upon the beach 

Appear like mice ; and yond tall anchoring bark 

Diminish'd to her cock ; her cock, a buoy 

Almost too small for sight The murmuring surge 90 

That on th' unnumber'd idle pebble chafes 

Cannot be heard so high. I '11 look no more, 

Lest my brain turn and the deficient sight 

Topple down headlong. 

Glou. Set me where you stand. 

17. walk] waWd Ff. Ktly, Sch. peeble chafes Q^ peeblet 
beach] beake Q t . chafe Q t . pebbles chafes Pope et cet 

18. yond] yon Qq. yori Cap. Steer. 22. heard...../ 9 II] heard...IU F t F t . 
Ec. Var. Knt. heard.../* le F,. heard, its fa hie He Q,. 

19. a buoy] a boui Q t . aboue Q^ heard i it is fo hie lie Q^ 
21. pebble chafes] Ff, Rowe, Cap. 

describing it as growing half way down the cliff. Ellacombe : Being found only on 
rocks, it was naturally associated with Saint Peter. In our time the quantity suf- 
ficient to supply the market can be gathered without much danger; it grows in places 
perfectly accessible; in some localities it grows away from the cliffs, so that 'the 
fields about Porth Gwylan, in Carnarvonshire, are covered with it.' It may be grown 
even in the garden, especially in gardens near the sea, and makes a pretty plant for 
rock- work. [I think the old spelling should be retained; it shows the old pronun- 
ciation and the derivation ; thus spelled, and pronounced sampeer f all who are familiar 
with the sandy beaches of New Jersey will recognize in it an old friend. — Ed.] 

19. cock] Johnson: Her cock-boat Steevens: So in Chettle's Tragedy of 
Hoffman [I, ii] : 'I caused my lord to leap into the cock. . . . " Rouse," quoth 
the ship against the rocks; ° roomer," cry I .in the cock,' &c. Hence the term 
* cockswain.' 

21. unnumber'd] Delius: That is, innumerable. Compare 'ungovern'd' for 
ungovernable, IV, iv, 19. Wright: Compare 'untented' for that which cannot 
be tented, I, iv, 294. Abbott, $ 375 : The passive participle is often used to signify, 
not that which was and is, but that which was, and therefore can be hereafter. In 
other words, ~ed is used for -able, 

21 . idle] Warburton : Barren, uncultivated. Eocles : Perhaps trifling, insignifi- 
cant ; moved by a kind of continual and frivolous agitation to no purpose or effect. 
[See 'idle weeds,' IV, iv, 5.] 

21. pebble chafes] Lettsom ( Walker's Vers. 268) : Perhaps pebbles chafe is the 
true reading, and ' surge,' consequently, a plural. The ordinary reading, pebbles 
chafes, which sounds awkward even to modern ears, would have been still more 
offensive to those of our ancestors. [Whether we follow the Qq or Ff, we are nearer 
to Sh. than when we follow Pope with his harsh sibilants in a line of exquisite 
beauty. — Ed.] 

23. deficient] Delius : In the only other instance of Shakespeare's use of this 
word, Oth. I, iii, 63, it refers, as here, to a defect of the senses. 



[act iv. sc vi 


Edg. Give me your hand. You are now within a foot 25 
Of th* extreme verge. For all beneath the moon 
Would I not leap upright 

Clou. Let go my hand. 

Here, friend, 9 s another purse; in it a jewel 
Well worth a poor man's taking. Fairies and gods 
Prosper it with thee I Go thou further off; 30 

Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going. 

Edg. Now fare ye well, good sir. 

Clou. With all my heart. 

Edg. Aside!] Why I do trifle thus with his despair 
Is done to cure it 

25-27. Cive...upright.] Three lines, 
ending hand:.,. Verge ;...vpright, Ff. 

25. You are] you're Pope + , Dyce ii, 

26. beneath"] MowTope+. 

27. upright] outright Warb. Han. 
Johns. Cap. 

28. friend's] friends, F f FjF 4 . friend 
is Stecv. Ec. Var. Knt, Coll. Del. Sing. 

29. fairies] fairiegs Q s . 

29, 30. gods off] One line, Sch. 

reading prospect. 

30. further] farther Qq, Cap. ColU 
Del. Wh. Clo.+. 

32. ye] Ff, Rowe+,Sch. you Qq et 

[Seems to go. Rowe+. 

33. [Aside.] Cap. Ktly, Dyce ii, Col. 
iii. Om. QqFf et cet. 

33.34. Why I do... .despair Is] Why 
I do....difpaire, tis Q a . Why do /.... 
defpair, ' Tis FjF,. Why do I.alespairt 
'Tis Rowe, Pope, Theob. Warb. Johns. 
Cap.] One line, Qq. 

27. upright] Warburton : But what danger in leaping ' upright ' or upwards t 
He who leaps thus must needs fall again on his feet upon the place whence he rose. 
"We should read outright, i. e. forward ; and then, being on the verge of a precipice, 
he must needs fall headlong. Heath: The spot is represented as so extremely 
near the edge of the precipice, even within a foot of it, that there was the utmost 
hazard in leaping even upright upon it. Mason : A man's saying on the brink of a 
precipice that * he would not leap forward for all beneath the moon* conveys no 
extraordinary idea of the danger itself, or of the apprehensions it occasioned ; it is 
merely saying, in other words, that ' he would not. for all the world devote himself to 
certain destruction.' But Edgar goes farther, and says he would not ' leap upright,' 
which did not necessarily imply his falling down the precipice. Malone : If War- 
burton had tried such a leap within a foot of the edge of a precipice, before he 
undertook the revision of these plays, the world would, I fear, have been deprived 
of his labours. 

30, 32, 41. thee . . . ye . . . thee] Abbott, § 232, cites this passage as an illus- 
tration of the use of thou to servants and inferiors, and of the more respectful you 
to masters and superiors. « It may seem an exception that in IV, i, Edgar uses thou 
to Gloucester, but this is only because he is in the height of his assumed madness, 
and cannot be supposed to distinguish persons. Afterwards in Scene vi, he invari- 
ably uses you, a change which, together with other changes in his language, makes 

ACT XV, sc. vij 



Glou. \Kneeling\ O you mighty gods ! 
This world I do renounce, and in your sights 35 

Shake patiently my great affliftion off; 
If I could bear it longer and not fall 
To quarrel with your great opposeless wifls, 
My snuff and loathed part of nature should 
Burn itself out If Edgar live, oh bless him !— 40 

Now, fellow, fare thee well. 

Edg. Gone, sir ; farewell. [He falls. 

[Aside] And yet I know not how conceit may rob 
The treasury of life, when life itself 
Yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought, 
By this had thought been past Alive or dead ? — 45 

Ho, you sir I friend I Hear you, sir I speak ! — 

34. [Kneeling] He kneeles.Qq. Om. 

39. snuff] snurff Q,. 

40. him] Om. Qq. 

41-48. Gone., Mr f] Prose, Qq. 

41. Gone, sir;] Coll. Gon fir* Qq. 
Gone Sir, F,. Good Sir, F,F J F i + , Cap. 
Gone, tirt Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Gone, 
tin Knt. 

[He falls.] Qq. Om. Ff. He 
leaps and falls along. Rowe. After 
farewell Jackson, Knt, Sing. Dyce, 
Coll. ii, Sta. Wh. Ktly. After fare thee 

well Qq et cet. 

42-45. And yet....past] As ' Aside/ 
Cap. Dyce ii, Huds. 

42. may] my Q,. 

43. treasury] treafure F,F 3 F 4 , Rowe. 

45. had thought] thought hadQ 9% Cap. 

46. Ho,.. .speak /] Hoa, you, hear you, 
friend I Sir I Sir I speak I Theob. 
Warb. Johns. Ho, you sir, you sir, 
friend I Hear you, sir? Speak : Cap. 

friend] Ora. Qq. 

Hear] here F 1I F J F 4 , Rowe, Pope. 

speak] speak, speak Ktly. 

Gloucester say: "Thou speak'st In better phrase and manner than thou didst." It 
may be partly this increased respect for Edgar, and partly euphony, which makes 
Gloucester use you in lines 10 and 24.' 

33, 34* Why ... it] Abbott, § 411 : This sentence combines •Why I trifle is to 
cure, 9 and « My trifling is done to cure.' In itself it is illogical. Thus also V, i, 67. 

38. opposeless] Abbott, § 446 : The suffix -less is used for * not able to be.' 
Here it is * not able to be opposed,' i. e. irresistible. It is commonly used with words 
of Latin or Greek origin. 

41. Gone, sir] Knight: This is ordinarily printed, 'Gone, sir?' as if Edgar 
asked Gloucester if he had gone ; whereas Gloucester has previously told him, ' Go 
thou farther off;' and, when Gloucester again speaks to him, he says, ' Gone, sir. 9 
Dyce: Gloucester certainly does not 'leap' till after Edgar has said, 'Gone, sir; 
farewell.' White: Perhaps we should read « Going, sir,' or 'Good sir.' 

44. theft] Johnson: When life is willing to be destroyed. Hudson: I suspect 
that 'how' in line 42 has about the force of whether, or but that. 'When one is 
thus longing to die, I do not know but that even the imagination of such a leap, or 
such a fall, might not be the death of him, sure enough.' This interpretation agrees 



[act iv, sc. vl 

[Aside] Thus might he pass indeed ; yet he revives.— 47 

What are you, sir ? 

Glou. Away, and let me die. 

Edg. Hadst thou beea aught but gossamer, feathers, air, 
So many fathom down precipitating, 50 

Thou'dst shiver'd like an egg ; but thou dost breathe ; 
Hast heavy substance ; bleed'st not ; speak'st; art sound 
Ten masts at each make not the altitude 
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell ; 
Thy life 's a miracle. Speak yet again. 55 

47. As ' Aside/ Cap. Dyce ii, Huds. 

49. Two lines, Ff. 

gossamer] go/more Qq. Gotemore 
Ff, Rowe. gossamer Pope, gossemeer 

feathers,"] feather? and F,F 3 F 4 , 

50. fathom] fathome F, F,F 4 . fadome 

51. Thou'dst] Ttoud'JiF a F % Y 4 . Thou 
hadfl Qq, Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt. 

52. not;] notfjtn. 

speak st] fpeakeflQ v fpeakflQ^ 
fpeak F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Pope, Theob. Han, 
Warb. Jen. 

sound.] found? F 4 , Rowe, Pope, 
Theob. Han. Warb. Jen. 

53. at each] at least Rowe. attacht 
Pope, Han. Warb. Cap. Ec at length 

54. felt] fallen Rowe+, Cap. Ec* 

55. Thy] 73/ F,. 

well with what Edgar says afterwards: « Thus might he pass indeed.' How is often 
used in a similar way ; as when we say, I know not how such or such a thing may 
work ; that is, I know not whether it may work well or ill ; or I know not but that 
it may operate the reverse of what I propose. 

47. pass] Johnson : Thus might he die in reality. We still use the word * passing 

49. gossamer] See Rom. 6* Jul. II, vi, 18. 

53. at each] Theobald : 'Tis certain 'tis a bold phrase, but I dare warrant it was 
our author's, and means, ten masts placed at the extremity of each other. War- 
burton : Mr Theobald restores the old nonsense. Johnson: We may say « ten 
masts on end* Jennens: We might offer another conjecture, a-s/retch; but the 
old reading is intelligible enough. Steevens : Perhaps we should read, • at reach, 9 
i. e. extent. Singer reads at eche, which he derives from the Anglosaxon eacan, to add, 
and defines as ' drawn out at length, or each added to the other.' He also cites the 
other instances of the use of eche in Shakespeare, viz : • ech • of Q a of Mer. of Ven. 
Ill, ii, 23 ; Per. Ill, Prol. 13 ; « eech ' of F f of Hen. V: III, Chor. 35. [The rhyme 
in Per. demands * eche,' but in the other cases it has been generally spelled eke. — Ed.] 
White j Might we not read « at eke* i. e. added to each other ? Dyce : I believe it 
means, « Ten masts joined each to the other.' It has given rise to sundry bad con- 
jectural emendations. Schmidt: Compare the passage in Son. viii, where the 
poet anticipates Helmholtz's theory of the sympathetic vibration of cords : • Maik 
how one string, sweet husband to another, Strikes each in each by mutual ordering.' 

54. fell] For other irregular participial formations, see Abbott, § 344. 

ACT XV, sc. vi.] KING LEAR 273 

Glou. But have I fall'n, or no ? 56 

Edg. From the dread summit of this chalky bourn! 
Look up a-height ; the shrill-gorged lark so far 
Cannot be seen or heard ; do but look up. 

Glou. Alack, I have no eyes. 60 

Is wretchedness deprived that benefit, 
To end itself by death ? 'Twas yet some comfort, 
When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage 
And frustrate his proud will. 

Edg. Give me your arm. 

Up ; so. How is 't ? Feel you your legs ? You stand. 65 

Glou. Too well, too well, 

Edg. This is above all strangeness. 

56. tu>r\nol Q,. Jhrill gortfd Qq. Jhrillgor'd F.F,. 

57. summit) Roweii. SummelFJFJF^ Jhrill got* d F 4 , Rowe. 
Somnel F t . fommons Q,. fummons (^. 59. up.) t# / Q,. 

bourn l) Pope. Bourn F f F 4 . 62. death t ' Twos) death twos Q s . 

Bourne F 1 F t . borne, Qq. 64. arm.) arme t Q,. 

58. a-height) Hyphen, Thcob. ii. 65. How isUf Feel) howfeele Qq. 
shrill-gorged) Jhrill-gorgd F s . 

57. bourn] Knight : In a previous passage, ' Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me, 
4 bourn ' signifies a river; and so in the Faerie Queene (ii, Canto vi, Stanza 10) : « My 
little boat can safely pass this perilous bourne.' In Milton's Comus we have, « And 
every bosky bourn from side to side.' Here, as Warton well explains the word, 
4 bourn ' is a winding, deep, and narrow valley, with a rivulet at the bottom. Such 
a spot is a bourn because it is a boundary, a natural division ; and this is the sense 
in which a river is called a ' bourn.' The ' chalky bourn ' is, in the same way, the 
chalky boundary of England towards France. 

58. a-height] Sec « a-twain,' II, ii, 69; 'a-work,' III, v, 6, or Abbott, §24, who 
after this present example adds : ' perhaps.' 

66. strangeness] Hunter (ii, 273) : The incident of the cliff is so extravagantly 
improbable that there is no defending it, and we tolerate it only as having given oc- 
casion to Shakespeare's only great attempt at describing a particular piece of scenery. 
He had probably been at Dover, and sketched the scene upon the place. He evi- 
dently prepares the reader for the passage by several allusions to Dover in the earlier 
parts of the play, and, except for the sake of introducing these descriptive lines, one 
cannot see why Gloucester should be led so far as Dover, when he might so easily 
have executed his purpose elsewhere. There is an obscurity thrown (purposely, I 
think) over the topography of this play. Dr Johnson says, that this scene and the 
stratagem are wholly borrowed from Sidney's Arcadia ; but this is a mistake. It is 
true we have a blind king, who seeks the brow of a rock with the intention of throw- 
ing himself headlong. He asks his son to conduct him thither. So far the stories 
are coincident, but the improbable part is not yet entered upon ; and, so far from Sh. 
having here followed Sidney, or having any countenance from a more cautious writer 



Upon the crown o* tn' cliff, what thing was that 6j 

Which parted from you ? 

Clou. A poor unfortunate beggar. 

Edg. As I stood here below, methought his eyes 
Were two full moons ; he had a thousand noses, 70 

Horns whelk'd and waved like the enridged sea. 
It was some fiend ; therefore, thou happy father, 
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honours 

67. o % th 1 ] oth' F,FjF 4 . of the Qq. 71. whelVd] Han. weth'tC^ welht 
cliff, what] cliffe what Qf cliffe, Q,. weal#dF,F r walk'd FjF 4 , Rowe. 

what Q a . Cliffe. What Ff. welVd Pope + , Cap. Jen. Mai. Ec. Sing. 

68. unfortunate] unfortune F a . enridged] enraged Ff, Rowe, Sch. 
&W r ] l>Wg* r Qi« 73« clearest] eleerejl QqFjF,. dearest 

69. methought] me thoughts Q s . me Pope. 

thought Ff. make them] made their Qq. 

70. he had] a had Qq. 

of fiction, the son in the Arcadia even refuses to conduct his father to the spot Sh., 
as far as our knowledge at present goes, must be answerable in his own proper per- 
son, and alone, for what is too improbable to give as an incident any degree of plea- 
sure. At the same time, he may have owed the conception of that particular mode 
of suicide to Sidney, since the passage occurs in that part of the Arcadia to which 
he owed, according to Steevens, the episodical incidents of Gloucester, Edmund, and 
Edgar. But there actually occurred in Shakespeare's time the incident of a London 
merchant committing suicide by throwing himself headlong from the tower of one 
of the churches. [I cannot think that Hunter is at his happiest in this note. His 
Illustrations generally are among the best that have been written. — Ed.] 

68. unfortunate] According to Abbott, § 468, the unaccented syllable in this 
word may be softened or almost ignored in scanning. Compare * majesty,' I, i, 91 ; 
'messengers,' II, i, 124; 'delicate,' III, iv, 12, &c. 

71. whelk'd] Hanmer (Gloss.) : A whelk is such a rising tumour upon the skin as 
the lash of a switch or whip leaves behind it. Steevens : So in Hen. V: III, vi, 108. 
Fluellen, speaking of Bardolph, says : ' his face is all bubukles, and whelks, and 
knobs,' &c. Malone : Twisted, convolved. A welk, or whilk, is a small shell fish. 
Wright : In Sherwood's English-French Dictionary, which forms the supplement to 
Cotgrave's second edition, ' whelke ' is given as synonymous with ' wheale,' a blister 
or pustule. In Chaucer (Pardoneres Tale, 14153, ed. T. Wright), we have: 'For 
which ful pale and welkid is my face,' where ' welkid ' is explained by Tyrwhitt as 
' withered,' but seems to mean swollen with weeping, as in the following passage from 
Sackville's Induction, 80 : ' Her wealked face with woful teares besprent/ 

71. enridged] Abbott, § 440 : This word and ' the ^/chafed flood,' Oth. II, i, 17, 
are, perhaps, preferred by Sh. merely because in participles he likes some kind of 
prefix as a substitute for the old participial prefix. [Between ' enridged' and enraged 
there is to me small hesitation on the score of pictorial beauty, however great may 
be the reluctance to desert the Ff. — Ed.] 

73. clearest] Theobald : That is, open and righteous in their dealing. So in 
Timon, IV, iii, 27, ' Ye clear Heavens.' Johnson : The purest; the most free from 

ACT XV, SC Vi.] 



Of men's impossibilities, have preserved thee. 

Glou. I do remember now. Henceforth 1 11 bear 75 

Affliction till it do cry out itself 
4 Enough, enough/ and die. That thing you speak of, 
I took it for a man ; often 'twould say 
4 The fiend, the fiend ; ' he led me to that place. 

Edg. Bear free and patient thoughts. — But who comes 

here ? 80 

Enter Lear, fantastically dressed with wild flowers. 

The safer-sense will ne'er accommodate 

77. • Enough...die.] Enough, enough, 
and die. Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Sing. Del. 
ii. (dye. Cap,) In quotation-marks, 
Del. i. 

die. That] die that Q,. 

7$. ' twould] would it Q t , Jen. would 

79. * The fiend, the fiend;* he] Cap. 
The fiend, the fiend— he Rowe + . The 
fiend the fiend, he Q,. The fiend, the 
fiend, he QjFf. 

So. Two lines, Ff. 

Bear free] Bare free Qf Bare, 

fr"> Q.- 
Enter Lear...] Cap. (subs.) En- 
ter Lear mad. (after thus, line 82) Qq. 
Enter Lear, (after thoughts) Ff+, Jen. 
Enter Lear, drest madly with Flowers. 

81 • Scene vn. Pope +, Jen. 

81, 82. The...thus.] One line, Qq. 

81. will] would Han. 

evil. Capell : It may have the sense of clear-sighted, given with some reference to 
the imposition on Gloucester, his weak belief of his bastard. White : The sense 
of the context, and the great similarity in manuscript between cl and d, make it more 
than possible that the correct reading here is dearest. Yet, by such a change, we 
should lose the fine opposition of 'clearest' and 'impossibilities.' Schmidt says 
that bright, pure, glorious are all contained in the word « clear.' 

74. impossibilities] Capell : Who derive to themselves honour and reverence 
from man, by doing things which he reckons impossible. [Compare Luke xviii, 271 
* The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.'] 

77. That thing] See II, iv, 209. 

80. free] Johnson : To be melancholy is to have the mind chained down to one 
painful idea; there is, therefore, great propriety in exhorting Gloucester to free 
thoughts, to an emancipation of his soul from grief and despair. Schmidt {Lex.) 1 
That is, not affected with any disease or distress of the body or mind; sound, happy, 
careless, unconcerned, as in III, iv, 11 ; III, vi, 103. 

80. Enter Lear, &c] We must remember that these 'flowers' are an addition 
oy Theobald, who was undoubtedly induced to add them from Cordelia's descrip- 
tion in IV, iv, and also, as suggests Schmidt, from Edgar's speech at the sight of 
Lear : « The safer sense,' &c. — Ed. 

81. safer] Warburton: Without doubt Sh. wrote sober, t. e. while the under- 
standing is- in a right frame it will never thus accommodate its owner; alluding to 
Lear's extravagant dress. Thence he concludes him to be mad. Capell: That 
is, sounder. Johnson: I read saner. Jennens: I read, with all the old copies, 
'safer; ' « Nor do I think the man of safe discretion, That does affect' to alter it— 

276 KING LEAR [act iv, sc. ri 

His master thus. 82 

Lear. No, they cannot touch me for coining. I am the 
king himself. 

Edg. O thou side-piercing sight ! 85 

Lear. Nature's above art in that respeft. — There's your 
press-money. — That fellow handles his bow like a crow- 
keeper. — Draw me a clothier's yard. — Look, look, a mouse 1 
Peace, peace; this piece of toasted cheese will do 't— 
There 's my gauntlet ; I '11 prove- it on a giant — Bring up 90 
the brown bills.— Oh, well flown, bird! i' th' clout, i' th' 
clout! hewgh! — Give the word. 

83. coining] coyning Qq. crying Ff. 90. do't] do it Qq. 

85. As « Aside/ by Cap. Ec. Dyce ii. 91, 92. bird I i * th* clout, ? M' clout f] 
ride-furring] Hyphen, Ff. Bird: t» th* clout, t» th* clout: Ff (ith' 

86. Nature's] Nature is Qq. Natures F,F J F 4 ). bird in the ayre, Qq (birde 
F,F 3 F 4 . Q a ). barb I t» M' clout, f th 9 clout: 

87,88. crow-heeper] cow-heeperKovre Warb. Theob. Han. 

ii, Pope. 92. hewgh J Hagh Qq. hewgh /— . 

89. piece of] Om. Qq. [Whistling] Coll. iii. 

Meas.for Me as. I, i, 72. Blakeway: The « safer sense' seems to me to mean the 
eye-sight, which, says Edgar, will never more serve the unfortunate Lear so well as 
those senses which Gloucester has remaining will serve him, who is now returned to 
his right mind. The eye-right is probably the « safer sense,' in allusion to our vulgar 
proverb : ' Seeing is believing.' Horace terms the eyes * oculi fideles.' Gloucester 
afterwards laments the ' stiffness of his vile sense.' 

81. accommodate] See 'unaccommodated/ III, iv, 103. 

86, et seq. Capell: Lear's ravings rise chiefly from the exercises that he as king 
had been used to, namely, war, and war's appendages then ; in some he is listing, 
engag'd in battle in others, in others training his bowmen and seeing them exercise ; 
it was once thought that falconry (a kingly amusement) had a place in these ravings, 
and that 'bird' [line 91] was meant of the hawk; but 'tis better understood of the 
arrow, which he calls * well-flown ' from its being lay'd in the ' clout.' 

86. Nature's above art, &c] Schmidt: That is, a born king can never lose his 
natural rights. 

87. press-money] Douce : The money paid to soldiers when they were retained 
in the king's service. [See Nam . I, i, 75, ' impress ' and notes.] 

87. crow-keeper] One who keeps off crows from a field. [See Rom. 6* Jul. I 
iv, 6, and notes.] Douce : The notes on this word serve only to identify the character 
of a ' crow-keeper;' the comparison remains to be explained. In speaking of awk- 
ward shooters Ascham \Toxophilus, p. 145, ed. Arber] says: 'An other coureth 
downe, and layeth out his buttockes, as though he shoulde shoote at crowes.' 

88. clothier's yard] Many editors, from Steevens down, refer to the « arrow of 
a cloth yard long' in Chevy- Chace. 

91. brown bills] A kind of halberd used by foot-soldiers ; see Rom. cV Jul. I, i, 66. 
Wright : They were browned like the old Brown Bess to keep them from rust. 
91. bird] Warburton: Lear is raving of archery, and shooting at butts, as is 

act iv, sc. vi.] KING LEAR 277 

Edg. Sweet marjoram. 93 

Lear. Pass. 

Glou. I know that voice. 95 

Lear. Ha! Goneril, — with a white beard! — They flat- 
tered me like a dog, and told me I had white hairs in my 
beard ere the black ones were there. To say ' ay ' and ' no ' 
to every thing that I said ! 'Ay' and 'no* too was no good 

96. with...Tkey]I>yct. with a white 99. every thing that] euery thing Q. 
beard t They Ff. ha Regan, they Qq. aU Q,. 

hah / Regan I they Pope, Theob. Han. said!. ..too was] /aide, I and no 

Warb. Jen. toe, was Q x . /aide : I and no too was 

97. white] the white Ff, Sch. Q,. /aid: I, and no too, was Ff. 

plain by the words ' i v the clout/ so that we must read 'O well-flown, Bard/* i. e. 
the barbed, or bearded arrow. Heath and Capell (see above, line 83) think that 
< bird ' metaphorically means the arrow. Ecclss : ' Well-flown ' may be understood 
as a compound epithet of * bird.' Douck : Lear certainly refers to falconry. In an 
old song on Hawking, set for four voices by Thomas Ravenscroft, ' O well flown ' is 
a frequent address to the hawk. Steevens: 'Well-flown bird' was the falconer's 
expression when the hawk was successful in her flight, and is so used in A Woman 
Killed with Kindness [p. 103, ed. Sh. Soc]. 

91. clout] Nares: The mark fixed in the centre of the butts, at which archers 
shot for practice. Qouette, Fr. Literally, the nail, or pin. The best shot was that 
which clove or split the clout, or pin, itself. [See ' pin,' Rom. 6* Jul. II, iv, 15, and 
notes. — Ed.] 

92. word] Johnson : Lear supposes himself in a garrison, and, before he lets 
Edgar pass, requires the watch-word. 

96. beard] Halltwell: It is hardly requisite to fill up the context of a dis- 
jointed raving. Ha ! Goneril ! — to be so unfilial to a father with a white beard, to 
an aged father, the age of the parent aggravating the crime of the daughter. In a 
former part of the tragedy he says to Goneril : « art not ashamed to look upon this 
beard,' meaning his venerable white beard. MOBERLY: I suppose you are Goneril, 
though your white beard seems against it. 

98. black ones] Capell: He was told he had the wisdom of age before he had 
reach'd to that of a youth. 

99. < Ay ' and ' no ' too] Pyb (p. 295) : It does not appear how it could be flattery 
to dissent from, as well as to assent to, every thing he said. The following reading 
was suggested to me by an ingenious friend, by only a change in the pointing and 
the omission of a single letter: 'To say ay and no to every thing I said ay 
and no to, was no good divinity. 9 [White adopted this reading.] Singer : It 
may, however, mean that they said 'ay' or 'no' as he said « ay ' or ' no,' but more 
probably that they had double thoughts, and said « ay ' to flatter him, when they said 
4 no ' to themselves, and vice versa. Dkuus : That is, in contradiction to the Biblica 
injunction to ' let your speech be yea, yea and nay, nay.' Cowden Clarke: Lea 
first exclaims indignantly : ' To say " ay and " no " to every thing I said I ' recollect 
ing the facility with which his courtiers veered about in their answers to suit his 
varying moods, just as Osric does to Hamlet; and then he goes on to say that this 





divinity. When the rain came to wet me once and the wind 1 00 
to make me chatter ; when the thunder would not peace at 
my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em out Go 
to, they are not men o' their words; they told me I was 
everything ; 'tis a lie, I am not ague-proof. 

Glau. The trick of that voice I do well remember. 105 

Is 't not the king. 

Lear. Ay, every inch a king. 

When I do stare, see how the subjeft quakes.— 
I pardon that man's life. — What was thy cause ? 
Adultery ? 

Thou shalt not die; die for adultery? No; no 

The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly 
Does lecher in my sight 
Let copulation thrive ; for Gloucester's bastard son 

100. the wind} wind F,F S F 4 , Rowe, 
Pope, Han. 

102. 9 em...*em] them. ..them Qq, Cap. 
Stecv. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. Ktly. 

103. men] women Upton. 

0* their] of their Qq, Cap. 

104. ague-proof} argue-proofe Qq. 
Agu-proofe F x F t . Agu-proofF^. 

105. 106. The...king?] Prose, QqF 4 , 

106-116. Ay. ..soldiers] Prose, Qq. 

106. every] euer Q I# 

108, L09. 1 pardon... Adultery ?] What 
was the cause ? Adultery. I pardon that 

man's life. Ec conj. 

108. thy] the Theob. ii, Warb. Johns. 

1 00- 1 16. Adultery ?.. soldiers.] Johns. 
Six lines, ending for Adultery T... Fly... 
thriue :...Faiher t ...Jheets...Souldiers. Ff, 

109-130. Adultery?. thee] Prose, 

Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 

1 10. die : die for] die for Q,. dye for 


112. Does] doe Q,. do Q,. 
1 1 2-1 1 5. Lines end thrive. .father..* 
sheets. Cap. Mai. Ec. 

kind of 'ay* and 'no' too is no good divinity. In proof that 'ay f and 'no' was 
used by Sh. with some degree of latitude, as a phrase signifying alternate reply, and 
not merely in strictness ' yes and no,' compared; You Like It, .III, ii, 231-240, where, 
if the questions Rosalind asks be examined, it will be perceived that neither 'ay* 
nor < no ' will do as answers to any of them, except to ' Did he ask for me ? ' Moberly : 
In ' no good divinity ' the reference is to 2 Corinthians, i, 18 : ' Our word to you was 
not yea and nay.' 

io$. trick] Hanmer (Gloss.) : Frequently used for the air, or that peculiarity in a 
face, voice, or gesture which distinguishes it from others. [See Ham. IV, vii, 189.] 

107. subject quakes] Walker {Crit. i, 246): «If 'quakes' be right, 'subject* 
must refer to Gloucester alone. But I think Sh. wrote quake. ' Subject,' more prison 
meaning not subject us, but subjecti, as we say the elect, the reprobate. Old writers 
passim ; indeed the usage occurs as late as Burke. [There is great probability in 
this suggestion by Walker. Compare ' 'twas caviare to the general.'— Ham. II, ii, 
416. — Ed.] 

ACT IV, SC. vi.] 



Was kinder to his father than my daughters 

Got 'tween the lawful sheets. 

To 't, luxury, pell-mell 1 for I lack soldiers. • 

Behold yond simpering dame, 

Whose face between her forks presages snow, 

That minces virtue and does shake the head 

To hear of pleasure's name, — 

The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't 

With a more riotous appetite. 

Down from the. waist they are Centaurs, 

Though women all above ; 

But to the girdle do the gods inherit, 




1 14. than] nan were Cap. 
H5. sheets."] sheets, were unto me. Ktly. 
116. lack] wantQ,. 
1 1 7-1 25. As in Johns. 
1 17-130. Prose, QqFf. 
1x7. yond] yon QqF f . yon 9 Cap. 
Steev. Ec. Var. Knt. you F 4 . 

118. between] 9 tween Pope, Theob. 
Han. Warb. 

presages] presageth Qq. 

119. does] doQ<\. 

120. To hear] heart Qq. 
120-124. Three lines, ending nor.* 
appetite. ..above. Ktly (reading soifd). 

120, 121. name, — The] name. The 
Ff + , Jen. name to Qq* 

121. sotted] foyled QqFf. stalled Vlxrb. 
spotted Daniel. 

123. waist] waft Q g . wafte Q t Ff. 
they are] tha're Q,. the/r* 

123-130. Prose, Knt 

116. luxury] Lewdness. See Ham. I, v, 83. 

118. forks] Warburton: That is, her hand held before her face in sign of mod- 
esty, with the fingers spread out, forky. W. C. JouRDAiN (Philological Soc. Trans. 
p. 134, 1857) gives the same interpretation [which I think unwarranted, but have 
no inclination to emphasize an unsavory question by discussing it. See III, iv, 
104.— Ed.]. 

118. snow] Edwards: In construction the phrase 'between her forks' follows- 
* snow.' So in Tim. IV, iii, 386 : ' the consecrated snow That lies on Dian's lap.' 

119. minces] Staunton : That affects the coy timidity of virtue. Singer : Thus 
Cotgrave, ' Mineux: m . euse: f...also squeamish, quaint, coy, that minces it exceed* 
ingly/ &c. Also 'Faire la sadinette* To mince it, nicefie it, make it daintie, be 
vcrie squeamish, backward, or coy.' Collier: « Minces' cannot be right, since 
mincing means to cut anything into small pieces, and, figuratively, to take small 
steps ; whereas to mimic [the reading of the (MS) and of Collier's text] is to coun- 
terfeit, which is exactly what Lear intends to convey; the 'simpering dame' coun- 
terfeited or mimicked virtue, and shook her head at the mere name of pleasure. 

121. fitchew] Dyce (Gloss.) : A polecat, and here a cant term for a strumpet 
121. soiled] Heath : This is the term used for a horse that is turned out in 
the spring to take the first flush of grass. This at once cleanses the animal, and fills 
him with blood. 

J25. But] Merely. See Ham. II, ii, 272, 451. Dr Ingleby has sent me the fol- 
lowing: « Among the Heresies (August, de Heres.) that arose very early in the 
Church, there started out a Sect, called [the Paterniani], possibly the spawn of the 



[ACT iv, sc. Yl 

Beneath is all the fiends' ; 

There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit, 127 
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah, 
pah! — Give me an ounce of civet; good apothecary, 
sweeten mjr imagination; there's money for thee. 130 

Glou. Oh, let me kiss that hand ! 

Lear. Let me wipe it first ; it smells of mortality. 

Glou. O ruin'd piece of nature ! This great world 
Shall so wear out to nought — Dost thou know me ? 

Lear. I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou 135 

126, 127. Beneath...pit t ] As in Glo. +, 
Sch. Prose in QqFf +, Mai. Knt, Coll. 
Del. Sing. Sta. Wh. 

Beneath....Jarkness] One line, 
Johns. Cap. Jen. Steev. Bos. Dyce. 

126-130. Beneath..Jhee] Four lines, 
ending darkness. ...pah ;... .apothecary.... 
thee, Johns. Jen. five lines, ending 
darkness... stench. ..pah /....apothecary.... 
thee. Ec. Five and a half lines, ending 
darkness.. ..Mench..... me..*, apothecary... 
There' s...thee. Ktly. 

126. is at/] it is all Warb. 
fiends'] Cap., fiends QqFf. fiend's 


127. there's the sulphurous] Ktly, 
Cam. Dyce ii, Huds. Sch. therms the 
fulphury Qq (theres QJ. there is the 

fulphurous Ff et cet. 

128. consumption] con/umation Q,. 
con/ummation Q,. 

129, 130. chfit ;..aweeten] Rowe, Knt, 
Sch. duet; good Apothecary fweeten 
Ff. duet, good Apothecarie, to fweeten 
Qqet cet 

132. Let me. ..mortality.'] Here...mor- 
talitie. Qq. Two lines, Ff. 

f 33» z 34* /] Rowe. Three lines, 
ending world. ..naught. t Ff. Prose, 

134. Shall] Jhould Q 1 . fholdC^. 
nought] naught QqFf, Rowe, 

Pope, Theob. 

Dost thou] do you Qq. Jen. 

135. thine] thy Qq. 

filthy Gnosticks; whose opinion was that the upper Parts of a man's Body were made 
indeed by God, but the lower Parts from the Girdle, they held was made by the 
devil ; and very fond they grew of their fancy, which they thought gave them a 
Liberty to do with the devil's part what they pleas'd, so long as they reservM the 
rest unto God.' — England's Vanity: or the. Voice of God against . . . Pride in Dress, 
&c, 1683, p. 59. 

126. Malone and Knight doubt whether any part of this speech were intended 
for metre. Singer: It is too rhythmical to be left as mere prose, yet is rather 
lyric than heroic metre. White : Not improbably the remainder of this speech is 
mutilated blank verse. With very slight alteration it might be presented in perfect 
lines of five accents. Abbott, §511: The highest passion of all expresses itself in 
prose, as here, and in the fearful frenzy of Oth. IV, i, 34-44. 

133. piece of nature] Schmidt: Sh. frequently uses piece with of where we 
should expect some such word as model, or master-piece, especially a ' piece of virtue' 
for a pattern of virtue. An expression in Ant. 6* Cleo. V, ii, 99, comes the nearest 
to the present phrase, where Cleopatra says, « to imagine An Antony, were nature's 
piece 'gainst fancy.' 

133. This great world] See note on « little world of man,' III, i, 10. 




squiny at me ? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid ; I '11 not love. 136 
Read thou this challenge ; mark but the penning of it 

Gfou. Were all thy letters suns, I could not see. 

Edg. [Aside] I would not take this from report ; it is, 
And my heart breaks at it 140 

Lear. Read. 

Glou. What, with the case or eyes :» 

Lear. Oh ho, are you there with me? No eyes in youi 
head, nor no money in your purse ? Your eyes are in a 
heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how this 145 
world goes. 

136. squiny] /quint Q^ Pope, Han. 
at me] on me Qq. 

137. this] that Qq. 
but] Om. Qq. 

of it] oft Q,. on*t Q., Jen, Cam. 
Wr. _ 

138. thy Utters] Ff, Rowe, Knt, Sch. 
the Utters Qq et cet. 

see] F,F„ Knt, Sta. Sch. fee 
one QqF f F 4 et cet. 

139, 140. 7 would.... .at it.] Theob. 

Prose, Qq. Two lines, the first ending 
report, Ff. As 'Aside,' Han. Cap. Ec. 
Dyce ii, Huds. 

142. the ease] this ease Rowe+, Cap. 
Ec. Wh. Ktly. 

144. nor no] nor Q,, Pope, Han. 
144, 145. a heavy] heavy F f F 4 , Rowe, 

Pope, Han. 

145. light] light one Ktly. 

146. goes.] goes t Q,. 

136. squiny] Malons : To look asquint The word is used by Armin, Shake* 
speare's fellow-comedian, in his Nest of Ninnies [p. 6, ed. Sh. Soc] : ' The World, 
queasie stomackt, . . • squinies at this, and lookes as one scorning.' Wright adds 
that it is still used in Suffolk, [and an American can add that it is still used here]. 

139. report] Staunton : There is some obscurity here. What is it Edgar would 
not take from report ? He must have been aware of his father's deprivation of sight ; 
because it is mentioned in the previous scene. We are, perhaps, to suppose that the 
poor king exhibits the proclamation for the killing of Gloucester. Cowden Clarke x 
That which Edgar would not believe without witnessing is the extremity of pathos in 
the meeting between his blind father and the distracted \\ng. Delxus thinks it 
refers to Lear's condition. 

139. is] Wright: Emphatic; as in Macb. I, iii, 141. 

142. the case] Jensens : Having lost my eyes, would you have me read with 
the sockets. Steevens: That is, the socket of either eye. So in Wint. Tale, 
V, ii, 14: 'tear the cases of their eyes.' M alone: Also in Per. V, i, 112: 'her 
eyes as jewel-like and cased as richly,' and lb. Ill, ii, 99 : ' her eyelids, cases to 
those heavenly jewels.' ' This case of eyes' could not have been Shakespeare's 
phrase, because, in the language of that day, it would mean « this pair of eyes,' a 
sense directly opposite to that intended to be conveyed. White: But still I must 
regard Rowe's reading (1. e. with such a pair of eyes as this, t. e. none at all) as 
being the true text. 

143. are you there with me ?] Wright: That is, is that what you mean? So 
in As You Like It t V, ii, 32: 'Oh, I know where you are;* i.e. what you mean* 
[Compare ' take me with you,' Rom. 6* Jul. Ill, v, 140.] 




[act iv, sc tl 

Glou. I see it feelingly. 147 

Lear. What, art mad ? A man may see how this world 
goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears ; see how yond 
justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in thine ear; 1 50 
change places, and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which 
is the thief? Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a 

Glou. Ay, sir. 

Lear. And the creature run from the cur? There thou 155 
mightst behold the great image of authority ; a dog's obeyed 
in office. — 

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand ! 
Why dost thou lash that whore ? Strip thine own back ; 
Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind 160 

148. this] the Qq. 

149. thine] thy Qq. 

*49> 150. yond., .yond] yon....yon Qq. 
yon* Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt, Sing. 

150. thin*] thy Qq. 

151. change places, and] Om. Qq. 
handy-dandy] handy, dandy, Q l . 

handy-dendy F f . 

15 1, 152. justice... Jhitf] theefe.. Jus- 
tice Qq. 

154- Ay t ] I QqF.F,. Om. F,F 4 . 

155-172. Prose, QqFf. 

156. dog's obeyed] dogge t fo bad* Q^. 

1 58-161. As in Pope* 

159. thine] thy Ff+. 

160. Thou hotly lusts] Ff, Sch. thy 
bloud hotly lufts Qq (blood Q,). Thou 
hotly lust* st Rowe et cet. 

147. feelingly] Moberly: In an inward and heartfelt way. Lear takes the 
word to mean ' only by feeling as I have no eyes.' 'What do you want with eyes} 
he rejoins, « to know how the world goes ?' 

151. handy-dandy] Malone: This is a play among children, in which some* 
thing is shaken between the hands, and then a guess is made in which hand it is 
retained. See Florio : ' Bazzicehiare, To shake betweene two hands, to play handy- 
dandy.' Coles (Latin Diet., 1679) renders ' to play handy-dandy/ by digitis micare; 
and he is followed by Ainsworth ; but they appear to have been mistaken, as is Dr 
Johnson in his definition, in his Dictionary, which seems to have been formed on the 
passage before us, misunderstood. He says, Handy-dandy is • a play in which chil- 
dren change hands and places.' Douce : This explanation is confirmed by the fol- 
lowing extract from A free discourse touching the murmurers of the tymes, MS : 
' They . . . play with your majestie as men play with little children at handye dandye, 
which hand will you have, when they are disposed to keep any thinge from them.' 
Halliwell says this is one of the oldest games in existence, not only alluded to by 
Piers Plowman, but, according to Pope in his Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, by 
Plato. • Sometimes" the game is played by a sort of sleight of hand, changing the 
article rapidly from one hand to another. . . . This is what Sh. alludes to by changing 

160. lusts] This is an instance cited by Walker (Crit. ii, 128) of the substitu- 
tion in the Folio of s for st in the second person singular of the verb. « Qucere, 

ACT IV, SC. Vl] 



For which thou whip'st her.— The usurer hangs the cozener. 161 

Through tatter'd clothes great vices do appear; 
I Robes and furrM gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold, 
! And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks ; 

Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it 165 

None does offend, none, I say, none ; 1 11 able 'em ; 

Take that of me, my friend, who have the power 

To seal th' accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes, 

And, like a scurvy politician, seem 

To see the things thou dost not — Now, now, now, now. 170 

Pull off my boots ; harder, harder, so. 

161. cotener] cofionerQ^. 
162-170. As in Rowe. 

162. Through'] Thorough Ff, Rowe. 
tatter*d] tottered Q s . tattered 

Q^Sch. and tatter* d F f F 4 . 

clothes] raggsQ t . raggesQ^ 
£rmz/]Ff,Rowe,Sch. fmalQ^ 

/mall Q^ ct cct 

163. furred gowns] furdgownes Qq. 
hide] hides Qq. 

I63-168. PlatcJips.] Om. Qq. 
163. Plate] Theob. ii. Place Ff. 
sin] Theob. ii. Jinnes F.F.. 
fin ns F s . fins F 4 , Rowe, Pope, Theob. i, 

Han. Cap. Sen. 

165. in rags'] with rags Jen. (? mis- 

a] and Rowe. 

does]dds¥ t . <fcM F,F 4 +, Jen. 
Steer. Var. Knt, Coll. Sing. 

166. offend, none,] offend, Han. 
able] absolve Han. 

170, 171. To.. jo.] Cap. Now.. jo. 
One line, Pope ii + , Jen. Wr. ; prose, Cam. 
Now, now, now, now] no now Q;. 
No, now Of 

171. harder, harder] full harder, 
harder Ktly. 

asks Walker, ' in cases where st would produce extreme harshness, and where at 
the same time the old copies have *, whether we ought not to write the latter. (In 
the north of England, and in Scotland (see, for example, Burns, passim), s for st 
in the second person seems £0 be the rule.)' [To return to the usage of the QqFf in 
this instance is hardly more violent than to adopt it in place of its. Can harshness 
farther go than in ' hotly lust'st to' ? I regret that I did not soften a line correspond- 
ingly harsh in modern editions, and print in Ham. I, ii, 53 : ' Revisits thus the glimpses 
of the moon.' — Ed.] 

162. great vices] I cannot but think that the Ff are right here, and that the 
meaning is, 'When looked at through tattered clothes, all vices are great. 9 — Ed. 

163. hide all] M alone: In R. of L., 93, « Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty.' 
163. Plate] Cowden Clarke: That is, clothe in plate armour. 

163. sin] Sins of the Ff is to be preferred, were it not for the 'it 9 in line 
165.— Ed. 

166. I'll able em] Warburton: I'll qualify or uphold them. So Scogan, con- 
temporary with Chaucer : * Set all my life after thyne ordinaunce And able me to 
mercie or thou deme.' Heath : I will take off all legal disabilities which they may 
have incurred by their crimes. Steevens : Chapman's Widow's Tears .* ' Admitted! 
Ay, into her heart, and I '11 able it.' Again, in his version of the Iliad, xxiii : * I'll 
able this For five revolved years.' 



[ACT IV, SC. vt 

Edg. [Aside.] Qh, matter and impertinency mix'd ! 
Reason in madness ! 

Lear. If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes. 
I know thee well enough ; thy name is Gloucester. 
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither. 
Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, 
We wawl and cry. I will preach to thee; mark. 

Glau. Alack, alack the day ! 

Lear. When we are born, we cry that we are come 
To this great stage of fools. This ' a good block, 




172, 173. Oh...madness f] One line 
Qq. As ' Aside/ Cap. Dyce ii, Huds. 

172. impertinency mix'd/'] impertin* 
ency mixt, Ff. impertinencU mixt Q,. 
impertinency i mixt Q t . 

174-206. Prose, in Qq. 

174. fortunes'] fortune Qq. 

177. know'st] knoweft Q Jf Sch. 

178. wawl] wawle Ff, way I Q g . 
waile Q a , Cap. 

1 78. mark.] Ff, Knt, Dyce,Glo. + , Sch. 
mark — Rowe + . marke me. Qq et cet. 

181. This' a good block.] Sing, ii, Dyce, 
Glo. Wr. {block r Sing ii). this a good 
blocke. Qq. This -a good blockt: F,F t . 
This a good block: F $ F 4 , Sch. This a 
good block!— Rowe+, Ec. Knt, Del. 
Sta. Ktly. This a good block t Cap. Jen. 
Steev. '78, Var. Coll. i. This'* a good 
block. Cam. This* good plot Coll. iii. 

.172. impertinency] Douce: That is, something not belonging to the subject. 
Thus an old collection of domestic recipes, &c, entitled The treasurie of com* 
modious conceits, 1594, is said to be 'not impertinent for every good huswife to use 
in her house amongst her own familie.' This word does not seem to have been used 
in the sense of rude or unmannerly till the middle of the seventeenth century, nor 
in that of saucy till a considerable time afterwards. 

1 78. wawl] Wright : Cotgrave has : « Hotialler. To yawle, wawle, or cry out aloud.' 
181. This '] Walker ( Vers. 80) : This is is not unfrequently,— like that is, &c. — 
contracted into a monosyllable. See Lear, V, iii, 283 ; Tarn. S/ir. I, ii, 45, ' Why 
this ' a heavy chance 'twixt him and you.' Wright : See Meas. for Meas. V, i, 131, 
'this* a good Fryer belike.' See ABBOTT, §461; also II, ii, 1 1 6, of this play. 
RlTSON needlessly suggested "Tis.* 

181. block] Johnson would read • a good flock,' that is, a flock of wool. 'Lear 
picks up a flock, and immediately thinks to surprise his enemies by a troop of horse 
shod with flocks or felt. Yet * block ' may stand, if we suppose that the sight of a 
block put him in mind of mounting his horse. Capell : The mode of Lear's mad- 
ness is changM ; it is calm, and shews some sparks of reason ; he knows Gloucester, 
and his condition ; tells him he must be patient ; . . . says he will ' preach ' to him ; 
upon this he puts himself in posture of one who would preach, and pulls off his hat : 
Scarce has he utter' d a few words when some fumes of a wilder nature fly up ; the 
hat catches his eye, and sets fire to another train of ideas ; the words * This a good 
block ? ' are spoke looking upon the hat ; and this is follow'd by a second conceit, 
which has it's rise from the same circumstance, about * felt,' and the use it might 
be put to. Steevens : ' Block ' anciently signified the head part of the hat, or the 
thing on which a hat is formed, and sometimes the hat itself. Thus Much Ado, I, i, 

act iv,] KING LEAR 285 

It were a delicate stratagem, to shoe 182 

A troop of horse with felt I '11 put 't in proof; 

182. shoe] fhoo F t . Jkooe F t F f F 4 . 183. T Hiproof ;] Om. Qq. 

/hoot Qq. suit Anon.* put V] put it Cap. Steer. Ec 

183. felt] fell Qq. Var. Knt, Coll. DeL i, Sing. Wh. Ktly. 

75 : 'He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat : it ever changes with the next 
block.' Again, in Beau, and Fl. Wit at Several Weapons [IV, i] : « I am so haunted 
with this broad brim'd hat Of the last progress block, with the young hatband.' 
Again, m The Two Merry Milkmaids, 1620: ' — my haberdasher has a new block, 
and will find me and all my generation in beavers? &c. Again, in Decker's CuVs 
Hornbook, 1609: < — that cannot observe the time of his hatband, nor know what 
fashioned block is most kin to his head ; for in my opinion, the braine that cannot 
chuse his felt well,' &c. Again, in The Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, by Decker, 
1606 : ' — The blocke for his. head alters faster than the felt-maker can fitte him.' 
To the same effect Rushton (Euphuism, p. 52) cites instances from Lily's Euphues, 
Collier : ' Block ' implies that Lear is referring to the shape of his hat, when he 
probably had none upon his head, being, as we are told, ' fantastically dressed with 
straw and wild flowers.' Few things can be clearer than that 'block' was mis- 
heard for plot as it stands in the (MS), and that the 'good plot* was to shoe, &c. 
[Capell's explanation is, to me, scarcely satisfactory, although it is adopted by every 
editor but Collier, and is amply supported, as far as the peculiar use of the word 
' block ' is concerned, by Steevens's and Rushton's citations. The image of that dis- 
traught head covered by a felt hat is not pleasing, to say the least. I can offer 
nothing better, unless it be that ' block ' is used in its ordinary sense, and that Lear 
mounts one to deliver his preachment from. Since writing this I have found the fol- 
lowing in Tieck (iii, 241) : ' Brockmann at these words mounted the stump of a 
tree.' For this Tieck finds fault with him; 'the action was neither necessary nor 
did it impart any beauty to the passage. Schr&der afterwards, on the same stage in 
Vienna, represented himself so weak and worn out that he could not raise his trem- 
bling foot high enough to mount upon the stump ; this he did apparently to show that 
his predecessor had acted what was not true to nature.' Tieck adds, that ' Schroder, 
with his keen intelligence, would probably confess in cooler moments that he was 
even more sophistical than Brockmann; an old man who was as weak as this 
could certainly not have stormed about the open fields, and made his pursuers run 
hard to catch him.' In Edwin Booth's Prompt Book there is here the stage-direc- 
tion : ' Lear takes Curan's hat.' This is certainly better than to suppose that he took 
his own. — Ed.] 

183. felt] Steevens : This stratagem might have been adopted from the following 
passage in Fenton's Tragicall Discourses, 1567: ' — he attyreth himselfe for the pur- 
pose in a night gowne girt to hym, with a paire of shoes of felt, Leaste the noyse of 
his feete shoulde discover his goinge.' M alone: This ' delicate stratagem' had ac- 
tually been put in practice fifty years before Sh. was born, as we learn from Lord 
Herbert's Life of Henry the Eighth, p. 41 : ' the ladye Margaret, . . . caused there a 
juste to be held in an extraordinary manner; the place being a fore-room raised high 
from the ground by many steps, and paved with black square stones like marble; 
while the horses, to prevent sliding, were shod with felt or flocks (the Latin words 
uxefeltro sive tomento) ; alter which the ladies danced all night' 



[act vt.tcvi. 

And when 1 have stol'n upon these 
Then, kill, loll, kill, kill, kill, kill I 


Enter a Gentleman* with Attendants. 

Gent. Oh, here he is ; lay hand upon him. — Sir, 
Your most dear daughter — 

Lear. No rescue ? What, a prisoner ? I am even 
The natural fool of fortune. Use me well; 
You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons ; 
I am cut to th' brains. 

Gent. You shall have anything. 

Lear. No seconds ? all myself? 


184. I have] rve Pope+, Dyce ii, 

sioPn]flole Qq. 

sons-in-law] fonne in lames Q s . 
fonnes in law Q,. Son in Lames F s , 
Rowe, Cap. Sonnet in Lowes F . Sons 
in Laws F,. Sons-in-Laws F 4 . 

185. Enter...Attendants.] Rowe. En. 
ter three Gentlemen. Qq. Enter a Gen- 
tleman. Ff. Enter Gentleman, and At- 
tendants of Cordelia; and Guard. Cap. 

186. Scene vm. Pope+, Jen. 
hand] hands Qq, Jen. 

186. him. Sir,] Johns, him firs, Q^. 
him firs, Q,. him: sir, Rowe. him, 
Sir. Ff. 

187. Your...daughter — ]Om.Q m . your 
most deere (reading O..Jeere as one line) 

188. even] eene Qq. 

190. ransom] a ranfom Q^ 
surgeons] Ff+, Knt, Dyce t, 

Sta. Glo. Wr. Sch. a ehurgion Q R . a 
Chirurgeon Q,. a surgeon Cap. et cet 

191. lam] rm Huds. 
to th'] to the Q f . 

185. kill, kill] M alone: This was formerly the word given in the English army 
when an onset was made. So in Ven. cV Ad. 652 : • in a peaceful hour doth cry 
«« kill, kill." • Again, in The Mirrourfor Magistrates, 1610, p. 315 : « Our English- 
men came boldly forth at night, Crying Saint George, Salisbury, kill, kill.' 

189. fool of fortune] Steevens : Compare « I am fortune's fool,' Rom. c> JuL 
III, i, 129. Walker {Crit. ii, 309) : Here * natural fool ' means one born to be the 
sport of fortune. Bacon speaks of ' natural Spaniards, 1 i. e. native. Massinger, in 
The Renegado, II, iv, has « a natural Venetian.' 

191. cut to th' brains] Cowden Clarke: This, one of the most powerfully, yet 
briefly expressed, utterances of mingled bodily pain and consciousness of mental in- 
firmity ever penned, is not the only subtle indication in this scene that Lear not 
merely feels himself to be insane, but also feels acute physical suffering. ' I am not 
ague-proof tells how severely shaken his poor old frame has been by exposure through- 
out that tempestuous night; *pull off my boots; harder, harder,' gives evidence of a 
sensation of pressure and impeded circulation in the feet, so closely connected 
with injury to the brain; and 'I am cut to the brains' conveys the impression of 
wounded writhing within the head, that touches us with deepest sympathy. Yet, at 
the same time, there are the gay irrationality and the incoherency that mark this 
stage of mania. 

ACT IV, sc. vi.] 





Why, this would make a man a man of salt, 193 

To use his eyes for garden water-pots, 

* Ay, and laying autumn's dust 195 

* Gent. Good sir, — * 

Lear. I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom. What ! 
I will be jovial. Come, come; I am a king, 
My masters, know you that? 

Gent. You are a royal one, and we obey you. 200 

Lear. Then there 's life in 't Come, and you get it, you 
shall get it by running. Sa, sa, sa, sa. 

[Exit runnings; Attendants follow. 

Gent. A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch, 
Past speaking of in a king ! Thou hast one daughter, 
Who redeems nature from the general curse 205 

Which twain have brought her to. 

Edg. Hail, gentle sir. 

Gent. Sir, speed you ; what's your will ? 

193. a man a man] a man Qq. 

194-199. To..Jhat] As in Jen. Three 
lines, ending brauely...Iouiall :...Jhat f 
Ff +, Cap. (Come, come separate line, 

195, 196. Ay..air] Om. Ff, Rowe. 

1 95 . Ay, and"] land Qq. And Pope + , 
Cap. Ay, and for Steev. Bos. Knt, Coll. 

196. Gent. <7Wtt>]OmQ 1 ,Pope+, 

197-199. /...that/] Two and a half 
lines, ending bravely ..jovial. .Jhat t Coll. 
Del. Wh. Ktly. 

197. smug] Om. Qq, Jen. Steev. Ec 
Var. Sta. Glo. 

198. 199. king. My masters] King, 
Mafters F f . King. Mafters F a F s F 4 , 
Rowe. king. My masters Pope, Theob. 

Han. Warb. king ; masters Sen. 

199. that f] that. Q,, Dyce, Glo.+. 
that /Sin. Huds. 

201, 202. Then..aa.] Two lines, the 
find ending get it, Ff +. 

201. Come, and] Ff, Rowe, Sch. 
Come, an Pope, Theob. Han. Warb. 
Knt, Sing. Come, an* Johns, nay and 
Q,. nay i/Q^. Nay, come, an Jen. Ec. 
Nay, 1/GI0.+. Nay, an Cap. et cet. 

202. by] with Qq, Cap. Jen. Glo. Wr. 
Sa, sa, sa, sa.] Om. Qq. 
[Exit...] Exit, running; Attend* 

ants and Guard follow. Cap. Exit King 
running Qq. Exit. Ff. 

204. one] a Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 
Knt, Sch. 

206. have] hath Qq. had Anon.* 

193. salt] M alone: That is, a man of tears. Wright: Compare Chapman, 
Widovfs Tears, IV, i : ' lie not turn Salt-peeter in this vault for neuer a mans com* 
panie liuing.' 

201. life in 't] Johnson : The case is not yet desperate. 

202. Sa, sa] Boswei.l : Does not this seem to prove that ' Sessa/ III, iv, 96, 
means the very reverse of cesses ? Hudson : It is probably meant to express Lear's 
panting as he runs. Stark (Eine psychiatrische Sh.-Studie, p. 80) interprets this as 
singing, and says : ' Lear skips away carolling and dancing.' 



[act nr, sc. vt. 

Edg. Do you hear aught, sir, of a battle toward ? 208 

Gent. Most sure and vulgar; every one hears that, 
Which can distinguish sound. 

Edg. But, by your favour, 2 10 

How near 's the other army ? 

Gent. Near and on speedy foot ; the main descry 
Stands on the hourly thought 

Edg. I thank you, sir; that's all. 

Gent. Though that the queen on special cause is here, 
Her army is moved on. 

Edg. I thank you, sir. [Exit Gent. 215 

Glou. You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me ; 
/ Let not my worser spirit tempt me again 
To die before you please ! 

Edg. Well pray you, father. 

Glou. Now, good sir, what are you ? 

Edg. A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows ; 220 

208. aught] Theob. ii. ought QqFf. 
sir,] Om. Qq. 

209.210. Most. ...sound."] As in Q,. 
The first line ends hearts, Q t ; at vulgar, 

209. one] ones Q,. 

hears that] here's that Q,. hearts 
That Q fl . 

210. Whieh..jound] 7hat...fenee Q,. 
That...fenfe Q,. 

210. 211. But... army ?] One line, Qq. 
212. speedy foot] /peed fort Q x . fpeed 

forU Q.. 

212. descry] defcryes Q,. dej cries Q+ 

213. Statids] Standft Q,. 
thought] thoughts Qq. 
that's alt] Om. Pope, Han. 

215. Her] Hir Q f . His Q,. 

Edg. /...sir,] Om. Pope, Han. 
[Exit Gent.] Johns. Exit Qq. 
Exit, (after on), Ff. 

216. ever-gentle] Hyphen, Cap. 
218. Well pray] Well, pray Q,F 4 . 
220. tame to] lame by Qq, Mai. Bos. 

209. vulgar] Compare Ham. I, ii, 99 : ' any the most vulgar thing to sense.' 
212, 213. main descry . . . thought] Johnson : The main body is expected to 

be descried every hour. The expression is harsh. Staunton : The expression is 

as harsh and disagreeable as the speaker's * Most sure and vulgar ' just before. 

Moberly: The substantive 'descry' is like 'more impediments than twenty times 

your stop,' Oth. V, ii, 263. 

213. that '8 all] Both Jennens and The Cambridge Editors note these words as 
omitted in Q,, the ' N. Butter' Quarto. They are present in my copy, in Steevens's 
Reprint, and in Ashbee's Facsimile. I note this simply as an indication of the dif- 
ferences in different copies of the same edition. — Ed. 

214. Though that] See Macb. IV, iii, 106 : Abbott, § 287. 

218. father] Hudson : As this was a customary address from the young to the 
old, Edgar keeps addressing Gloucester so without being recognized as his son. 

220. tame] Malone adhered to the text of the Qq, because of the parallelism 
with 5^i. xxxv ii: ' So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spight.' 





Who, by the art of known and feeling sorrows, 
Am pregnant to good pity. Give me your hand, 
I'll lead you to some biding. 

Glou. Hearty thanks ; 

The bounty and the benison of heaven 
To boot, and boot ! 

Enter Oswald. 

Osw. A proclaim'd prize ! Most happy ! 

That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh 
To raise my fortunes. — Thou old unhappy traitor, 
Briefly thyself remember; the sword is out 
That must destroy thee. 

Glou. Now let thy friendly hand 

Put strength enough to *t 

Osw. Wherefore, bold peasant, 




221. known] knowing Han. Ktly. 
223-225. Hearty, .. boot f] Prose, Qq. 

224,225. The bounty bootf] One 

line, Pope, Jen. 

224. bounty] bornet Q f . 
the benison] bents Q,. 

225. To boot, and boot] to faue thee 
Q g . to boot, to boot Q„. to boot Pope, 
Han. Jen. ( To boot Han., as a separate 

Enter Oswald.] Coll. Enter 
Steward. QqFf. 

Scene ix. Pope + , Jen. 

225, &c. Osw.] Stew. QqFf. 
225-233. A. ..arm.] Prose, Qq. 

225. Most] this is most Han. 

happy '/] happy ,Q t . happy /Q^ 
AappieF v happy: Y^f^ 

226. first] Om. Q,. 

227. Thou] Om. Pope+. 
old] mqft Qq. 

229. Now] Om. Pope+. 

230. to't] QqF F 4 , Jen. Glo.+, Scb, 
too 7 F,F t . to it Han. et cet 

Edgar opposes.] Johns. Edgar 
interposes. Coll. 

221. known and feeling] Warburton: Sorrows past and present Malonb: 
1 doubt whether feeling' is not used for felt. Sorrows known, not by relation, but 
by experience. EccLES: 'Feeling sorrows' are such as, by awakening sympathy, 
make us feel for others. Cowden Clarke: ' Feeling' is here used in both senses 
of 'personally felt' and 'deeply moving.' Compare WisU. Tale, IV, ii, 8: *To 
whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay.' Abbott, § 372, seems to adopt 
Malone's view; he explains 'Feeling' as 'known,' passively, 'known and realised 
sorrows.' Schmidt: ' Feeling' is here not a participle but a gerund, and 'feeling 
sorrows' is equivalent to heartfelt sorrows. It is essentially the same gerund as in 
dying speech, writing book, washing tub, &c. 

222. pregnant] Schmidt : Disposed, prompt, ready. [See II, I, 76.] 

228. remember] Warburton : Recollect the past offences of thy life and recom- 
mend thyself to heaven. 

229, 230. Now ... to *t] Cowden Clarke understands this as a call to Edgar 

to defend him. With all deference I cannot but think that it is addressed to Oswald, 

begging him to put strength enough to his destroying sword to make sure work 

with it.— Ed. 

25 T 



[act iv, sc vi. 

Dar'st thou support a published traitor ? Hence ! 231 

Lest that th 1 infefiion of his fortune take 

Like hold on thee. Let go his arm. 
Edg. Chill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion. 
Osw. Let go, slave, or thou diest ! 235 

Edg. Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk 

pass. And ' chud ha* bin zwagger'd out of my life, 'twould 

not ha* bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight Nay, come not 

231. Dar'st] durfl Q s . darft Q^. 
Darft F,FjF 4 . 

232. that th y ] that Knt. 
that] Om. Qq, Cap. 

2 33> 2 34* Like...not] One line, Cap. 
234. Chill...' casion.] Two lines, Ff. 

«>] fir Qq. 

vurther] Om. Qq. further Jen. 
varther Coll. 

'casion] cagion Qq. 

236. and] Om. Qq. 

volk] voke Q t . volke Q,F 1 F a . 

237. And 9 chud]F(+ $ Jen. and chud 

Qq, Sch. an ch'ud Cap. Wh. an chud 
Dyce, Glo. + . and ch'ud Steev. et ret. 
237» 238. ha* bin] F.F.F,. haue beene 
Qq. ha' been F 4 . 

237. swaggered] twaggerd F t . f wag- 
gar* d Qj. swaggar'd Q,. swagged F t 
F,F 4 . 

'twould] it would Q s . t/ tw/t/ Q^. 

238. **/ **'] **' F,F 4 . 
*o]foQ t . 

at '/«] Om. Qq. 
vortnight] fortnight Q,. 

234. Chill, &c.] Steevkns : When our ancient writers introduce a rustic they 
commonly allot him this Somersetshire dialect Mercury, in the second book of 
Ovid's Metamorphoses, assumes the appearance of a clown, and Golding has made 
him speak with the provinciality of Shakespeare's Edgar [p. 26, 'And I chill gethee 
vor thy paine an Hecfar an hir match.' The pleonastic ' I chill ' is probably an over* 
sight on Gelding's part ; a line or two farther on there is no ' I ' before ' Cham zure.' 
CapelTs spelling ch'ill, and ch'ud in line 237, is probably the most correct, but, in a 
matter so trifling and so vague, we might as well follow the Ff, even in their mis- 
spellings. I have, therefore, printed • bin • and ' whither,' which may be, in reality, 
indications of the pronunciation. — Ed.] Ellis (£. E, Pronunciation, p. 293): 
The contractions chant, chas, chil (tsham, tshas, tshtl) for ich am, ich was, ich will, 
are mentioned by Gill {Logonomia, p. 17) as a Southern pronunciation, in Rev. W. 
Barnes's edition of the Glossary of the Dialect of Forth and Eargy, and in the 
Glossary to his Poems in the Dorset dialect, 1858, p. 150. The dialectic pronun- 
ciations Ise, 9 ch are preserved [here in Lear]. About thirty years ago utchy was 
in use for / in the eastern border of Devonshire and in Dorset, and examples of 
chant, chould «= I am, I would, occur in the Exmoor Scolding, which dates from 
the beginning of the last century. Wright : I will, contracted from * ich will,' just 
as « chud ' is for • ich would ' or * ich should.' In Grose's Provincial Glossary ' chell ' 
is said to be used for ' I shall ' in Somerset and Devon, and ' cham ' for ' I am ' in 
Somerset. In Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra we find « cham,' ' chy,' ' chaue,' 

236. gait] Steevens : In the last rebellion, when the Scotch soldiers had finished 
their exercise, instead of Our term of dismission, their phrase was ' gang your gaits.' 

act iv, sc. vi.] KING LEAR 29 1 

near th' old man ; keep out, che vor' ye, or ice try whither 
your costard or my ballow be the harder; chill be plain 240 
with you. 

Osw. Out, dunghill ! [They fight. 

Edg. Chill pick your teeth, zir ; come ; no matter vor 
your foins. 

Osw. Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse ; 245 
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body; 
And give the letters which thou find'st about me 
To Edmund earl of Gloucester ; seek him out 

239. M»] the Qq. 240. chill] He Q,. 

che vor* ye] cheuore ye Qq. cht 242. [They fight] Qq. Om. Ff. 

*vore ye Cap. 243. Chill] Child Y^ 

iV*]Ff+,Jen. t'&Qq. iz Cap. Chill...come] One line, Cap. 

Ise or ise Johns, et cet. tir]Jir Q f . 

whither] Ff. whether Qq et cet vor] for Qq. 

240. costard] cojler Q t . 244. [Edgar knocks him down. Rowe. 
ballow] bat Q,, Pope + , Cap. Jen. Oswald falls. Cam. 

Steev. Ec. Var. battero Q t . 248,249. To.., out Upon] One line, Qq. 

239. che vor' ye] Johnson : I warn you. Wright : Capell quotes from an old 
comedy called The Contention between Liberality and Prodigality (1602) : ' Yoo by 
gisse sir tis high time che vore ye Cham averd another will ha'te afore me.' 

239. ice] Abbott, §§ 315, 461 : Provincial for ' I shall.' Delius reads < ise,' and 
considers it equivalent to else. Wright : In Somersetshire west of the Parret, < Ise ' 
is used still for ' I,' and pronounced like ' ice.' 

240. costard] The name of an apple, and hence, according to Gifford (Note on 
the Alchemist, IV, i), humourously applied to the head. Whence ' coster-monger.' 

240. ballow] Knight: Grose {Provincial Gloss.) gives Ihis as a North-country 
word for pole. Collier : Balo means a beam in Norfolk. Battero of Q g is perhaps 
a corruption of the true word, as it is in the Folio. 

244. foins] Dyce (Gloss.) : Pushes, thrusts. Cotgrave: 'Estoquer. To thrust, or 
foyne at.' 

247. letters] Here, and in line 255, Mr Smith thinks we should read letter, be- 
cause only one letter is produced and read. ' Had there been one from Regan too, 
the audience no doubt should have heard it as well as Gondii's.' See IV, v, 33. 
[Eccles, M alone, and The Cambridge Editors attribute this note to « Mr Smith;* 
it is found in Grey's Notes, &c, vol. ii, p. 114, and, although it is not always perfectly 
clear where Grey's own notes end, and ' Mr Smith's ' notes, that he quotes, begin, yet 
I think that they are correct in this instance. When I compiled the note on IV, v, 
33, 1 thought that to ' Mr Smith' belonged only the note on 'undistinguished space 
of woman's will,' and that what I have quoted above was Grey's. ' Mr Smith of 
Harleston in Norfolk ' Grey pronounces • the most friendly and communicative man 
living/ and adds, that he was ' greatly assistant to Sir Thomas Hanmer in his edition 
of Shakespeare.' — Ed.] Malone shows that ' letters ' was used like epistola, when 
only one was intended. In I, v, I, Lear tells Kent to go before with these 'letters/ 
and Kent replies that he would deliver the ' letter.' 




[Dies. 250 

Upon the English party. Oh, untimely death I 

Edg. I know thee well ; a serviceable villain, 
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress 
As badness would desire. 

Glou. What, is he d€ad ? 

Edg. Sit you down, father ; rest you. — 
Let's see these pockets ; the letters that he speaks of 
May be my friends. He's dead ; I am only sorry 
He had no other deathsman. Let us see. 
Leave, gentle wax ; and, manners, blame us not 
To know our enemies' minds, we rip their hearts ; 
Their papers, is more lawful. 

[Reads] Let our reciprocal vows be remembered You have 



249. Upon the English] Upon the 
Britijh Qq, Cap. Jen. Mai. Steev. Bos. 
Coll. Sing. Sta. Wh. Ktly, Glo.+. On 
th* English Han. 

249, 250. Upon...death /] As two half- 
lines, Cap. 

death! Death!] Cam. Wr. 
death! death. Qq. death, death. Ff. 
death, death — Rowe. death,— Pope, 
Han. death! — death! Jen. death/ 
Theob. et cet. 

250. [Dies.] He dies. Qq (subs.). 
Om. Ff. 

252, 253. As duteous. ..desire.] One 
line, Q, 

254-258. Four lines, ending pockets, 
...friends,..jdeathfman...not, Qq, Jen. 

254, 255. you.— Let's] you lets Q t . 
you, lets Q a . 

254. [seating him at a Distance. Cap. 

255. M*;*...M/]Ff+,Cap.Knt,Dyce 
i, Glo. + , Sch. his...thefe Qq et cet. 

256. I am] rm Pope +, Jen. Dyce ii, 

sorry] forrow Q,. 

258. Leave] By your leave Rowe +. 
manners, blame] manners blame 

Qq. manners: blame Ff. manners- 
blame Rowe. manners. Blame Johns. 
258, 259. not. To] not To Q t Ff. not. 
To Q,, Rowe. not; To Pope et cet. 

259. we] Ff + , Coll. Del. Sta. Wh. 
wee*d Qq. we* Id Cap. et cet. 

260. is] tff*F t F 3 F 4 +. 

261. [Reads] Reads the Letter. Ff. 
Letter. Q,. Om. Q,. 

261-267. Seven lines, in italics, Q t . 
261. our] your Qq. 

249. English] See III, iv, 176. Knight : This slight difference between the Qq 
and Ff proves one of two things : Either that upon the publication of the Folio the 
distinction between British and English, which was meant as a mark of compliment 
to James, had ceased to be regarded ; or that the passage, having been written before 
his accession, had not been changed in the copy from which the Folio was printed, 
as it was changed in the copy of the play acted before the king in 1606. White: 
• English ' is a sophistication doubtless. Sh. must have known well enough that in 
Lear's time there were no more Englishmen in Britain than in America. [See Ap- 
pendix, p. 379.] 

252. duteous] Schmidt : Constantly in Sh. equivalent to obsequious, obedient. 

257. deathsman] Schmidt : Edgar is sorry that he anticipated the hangman. 

260. Their . . . lawful] M alone : The construction is : To rip their papers is 
more lawful. [See Abbott, §§ 337, 395, and.IV, ii, 11.] 

ACT IV, SC. Vi.] 



many opportunities to cut him off; if your will want not, time 262 
and place will be fruitfully offered. There is nothing done, if 
he return the conqueror; then am I the prisoner, and his bed 
my gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and 265 
supply the place for your labour. 

Your — wife, so I would say — affectionate servant, 

O indistinguish'd space of woman's will I 

263. done, if] done, TfQ^ done: If 
Q,. done. If Ff, Rowe. 

264. conqueror; then] conquer Our, 
then QqFf. conqueror. Then Pope + , 

265. gaol] Gaote F s . Goal* F a . Goal 

266. for your] of our F } F 4 , Rowe. 

267. — wife., jay — ] In parentheses, 
Ff. wife (fo..jay) your Q^. wife {Jo... 

say) 6* your Q^ Cap. Mai. Steer. Ec. 

267. servant,] seruant and for you her 
ownefor Venter, Q,. 

269. 0] OhF t . 0/F,F,F 4 . 

indistinguish'd] F 4 , Rowe,Wr. 
Sch. Indijiingui/ht Q^. vndijlinguijht 
Q,. indinguiflCd F,F,F,. undistin- 
guished Pope et cet. * 

will] wit Qq, Pope. 

263. fruitfully] Wright: Folly, plentifully. See AlTs Well, II, ii, 73: •Count. 
You understand me? do. Most fruitfully.' But this, in the mouth of the Gown, 
may have been an intentional blunder. 

267. servant] White : Are we to conclude from [the text of Q,] that Goneril 
makes an allusion to what Mr Weller would call her second wenter, or, still more 
prospectively, uses a technical term better suited to the lips of Sergeant Buzfutt 

267. Mitford (Gent. Mag. p. 469, 1844) says that « and for you her owne for 
Venter ' of Q, is only a corruption of andyoure ownefor ever. 

269. space] Theobald in his correspondence with Warburton (Nichols's IUus. 
ii, 382), asks : ' Does [« space '] mean, What a scope more than we can discover, do 
women give themselves in pursuits of vice ! ' This conjecture was not repeated in 
his edition. Singer (Sh. Vindicated, &c. p. 275) suggests ' " undisguised scope of 
woman's will." If we adopt wit of the Qq, we might read " undisguised scape of 
woman's wit." ' Whereupon Dyce (ed. i) remarks : ' Mr Singer offers a brace of 
conjectures, which I must take the liberty of saying he ought to have suppressed.' 
The ' brace ' failed to appear in Singer's subsequent edition. Voss conjectures pace, 
that is, • How trifling, insignificant, is the step between a woman's different wills I ' 
Bailey (i, 1 10) thinks • we have only to reflect on what a man in Edgar's position 
would be likely to say in order to arrive at the right reading.' This simple process 
leads Bailey to the belief that maze is the true word here. 

269. Theobald: The reading [of the Ff : 'will,' instead of wit of the Qq] gives 
us, as Mr Warburton observes to me, a most elegant Expression and most satirical 
Thought ; more delicate than the « varium et mutabile semper femina ' of Virgil. 'Tis 
not the Extravagance, but the Mutability, of a Woman's Will that is here satiriz'd. 
The Change of which (our Author would be understood to say,) is so speedy, that 
there is no Space of time, no Distance, between the present Will and the next ; but 
it is an undistingtiish'd Space. This Sentiment may not be ill explain'd further from 
what honest Sancho, in Don Quixote, with infinite Humour says upon the subject, 


294 RING LEAR [act iv, sc. vL 

A plot upon her virtuous husband's life ; 270 

And the exchange, my brother ! — Here, in the sands, 

Thee I '11 rake up, the post unsanfiified 

Of murderous lechers ; and in the mature time 

271. in the] in rhe F t . ? th 1 Pope+ t 273. lechers] trenchers Clarke. 

Jen, the mature"] mature Pope, Han. 

272. the post] thou post Ed. conj. 

Entrt el $\y el No de la muger, no me atreveria yo & potter una punta d l Alfiler. 
Betwixt a Woman's Yea, and No, I would not undertake to thrust a Pin's Point. 
Davies :' A vicious woman sets no bounds to her appetites. Steevens : O undis- 
tinguishing licentiousness of a woman's inclinations ! Collier : Here, according to 
the (MS), we have a remarkable proof of mishearing. . . . The fact is that ' undis- 
tinguish'd' ought to be unextinguished, and 'space* Mate ; thus taking 'will' for 
disposition, the clear intention of the poet is to make Edgar exclaim against the 
unextinguishable fire or Mate of the appetite of woman, as illustrated by the letter 
and conduct of Goneril. Dyce : ' Undistinguish'd space ' means space whose limits 
are not to be distinguished. White: That is, 0, unmarked, boundless reach of 
woman's will! Hudson: 'Undistinguish'd' for undistinguishable, like 'unnum- 
bered ' for innumerable. Woman's will has no distinguishable bounds or no assign- 
able limits ; there is no telling what she will do or where she will stop. Staunton : 
Whatever may have been the original lection, it was plainly an exclamation against 
the indiscriminate caprice of woman as exhibited by Goneril in plotting against a 
virtuous husband's life merely to gain a villain like Edmund. We should perhaps 
read : ' undistinguishable sense of woman's will.' Wright : So wide-reaching [is 
a woman's will] that its workings cannot be discovered. . . . Without calling in ques- 
tion the absolute truth of Sancho's profound observation [as quoted by Theobald], it 
is at least allowable to doubt the propriety of applying it in the present case. Edgar's 
astonishment is not at the fickleness and caprice of Goneril, but at the enormous 
wickedness of the plot which her letter revealed. Moberly : The passage may be 
a reminiscence of Horace's : « Cum fas atque nefas e'xiguo fine libidinum Discernunt 
avidi ' ( Odes, I, xviii), which Mr Wickham renders : • While in their greedy haste they 
divide right and wrong by the slender line of their own appetite;' i.e. 'when the 
only distinction which they place between right and wrong is, that they desire the 
thing or not.' So here Shakespeare's idea seems to be that a woman's will knows 
no limits between good and evil. " Schmidt : That is, « Oh undistinguishable range 
of the female appetite ! ' Edgar is astonished that a woman can be found to prefer 
Edmund to the noble Albany. 

272. rake up] Johnson : I '11 cover thee. In Staffordshire to rake the fire is to 
cover it with fuel for the night. ' So 'tis in New England.' — Hudson. Wright : 
See Heywood's Proverbs (Spenser Soc. ed., p. 48) : ' We parted, and this within a 
daie or twayne, Was raakt vp in thashes, and coucrd agayne.' 

272. unsanctified] Steevens : Referring to his lack of burial in consecrated 
ground. Schmidt: As 'sanctified' means holy, so 'unsanctified' means profane, 

273. .mature] Abbott, § 492 : Apparently the accent is • mature/ ' This is like 
n&ture, but I know of no other instance of " mature." ' 

ACT iv, sc. vi.] KING LEAR 295 

/ With this ungracious pa per strike the sight 

Of the death-pra&ised duke. For him 'tis well 275 

That of thy death and business I can tell. 

Glou. The king is mad. How stiff is my vilde sense, 
That I stand up, and have ingenious feeling 
Of my huge sorrows ! Better I were distraft ; 
So should my thoughts be sever'd from my griefs, 280 

And woes by wrong imaginations lose 
The knowledge of themselves. \Drum afar off. 

Edg. Give me your hand ; 

Far off, methinks, I hear the beaten drum ; 
Come, father, I '11 bestow you with a friend. {Exeunt 

275. death-practised] Hyphen, Ff. 282. [Re-enter Edgar. Cap. 

276. thy] his Q. [Drum afar off.] A drum a farre 
[Exit Edgar, dragging oat the off. Qq (subs.) Drum afarre off. (after 

Body. Cap. Buries Oswald Wh. line 280), Ff+, Jen. After hand Dyce. 

277. Two lines, Ff. 282,283. Cwcxlrum ;] One line, Q^ 
wAfr] Q.F.F.F,. vtf/Q^DeM, 284. Come, father^ Come further. 

Sch. vile F 4 et cet Johns. 

280. sever 1 d] fenced Qq, Jen. [Exeunt.] Exit Qq. 

281. imaginations^imaginaticnjohns. 

275. death-practised] Johnson: The duke of Albany, whose death is machi- 
nated by practice. 

278. ingenious] Warburton: That is, a feeling from an understanding not 
disturbed or disordered, but which, representing things as they are, makes the sense 
of pain the more exquisite. Singer : Bullokar gives, < Ingenious. Witty : quicke 
conceited/ t. e. acute. Schmidt : ' Ingenious 1 exactly corresponds to conscious* 

279. distract] The -ed is omitted. See Ham. IV, v, 2. 



[act iv, sc. vit 

Scene VII. A tent in tfie French camp. Lear on a bed 
asleep, soft music playing; Gentleman, and others at- 

Enter Cordelia, Kent, and Doctor. 

Cor. O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work, 
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short, 
And every measure fail me. 

Kent. To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid 
All my reports go with the modest truth, 
Nor more nor clipp'd, but so. 

Cor. Be better suited ; 

These weeds are memories of those worser hours; 

Scene vii.] Scsena Scptima Ff (Scena 
F 3 F 4 ). Scene vi. Rowe. Scene x 

A] Steev., aftet Cap. 
A Chamber. Rowe. 

Lear.. .asleep,] Steev., after Cap. 

soft music playing,] Cap. conj., 
Dyce, Sta. Glo+. 

Gentleman...] Glo. Physician, 
Gentleman,... Cap. 

Enter.. .and Doctor.] Enter.. .and Gen- 

tleman. Ff. Enter Cordelia and Kent 

1^-3. O me.] As in Howe. Two 

lines, the first ending goodnes, Q,. Three 
lines, ending Kent t ...goodneffe t, in 
Q,, Cap. Five lines, .ending Kent,... 
worke..goodneffe ?..Jkort,...tne, Ff, 

2. My life'] Life Pope+. 

6-8. Setoff.] Two lines,, the first 
ending thofe, in Q,. 

Enter • • • Doctor] M alone: In the Ff all the speeches are given to 'the Gen- 
tleman* which in the Qq are divided between « the Physician' and * Gentleman/ I 
suppose from a penury of actors it was found convenient to unite the two characters, 
which were originally distinct. Collier : It is singular that at this earlier date [of 
the Qq] the more expensive course [i. e. of having two actors, one for the Doctor 
and the other for the Gentleman] should have been pursued. 

3. measure] Johnson; All good which I shall allot thee, or measure out 'to thee, 
will be scanty. Becket (Concordance) : It here means effort, endeavour. 

4. is o'erpaid] Eccles : Perhaps it should be read : • 'tis o'erpaid/ that is, « in 
being acknowledged, it is overpaid.' Abbott, § 395 : That is, *is (to be) -o'erpaid.' 
See IV, ii, 11. 

5. modest] See II, iv, 24. 

6. suited] Steevens : That is, be better dressed. 

7. weeds] Wright: This dress. A. S. tu&d, clothing. [Peck (Memoirs of 
Milton, p. 228) : Sir James Melvil (' Scots ambassador to Q. Elizabeth') says of 
that Queen's clothes: 'One day she had the English weed, another the French,' &c] 

7. memories] Steevens: Memorials. Compare 'O you memory Of old Sii 
Rowland,' As You Like It, II, iii, 3. Malone : Thus in Stowe's Survey, &c, 1618 
'A printed mexnorie hanging up in a table at the entrance into the church door.? 

ACT IV, SC. vii.] 






I prithee, put them off 

Kent. Pardon, dear madam ; 

Yet to be known shortens my made intent ; 
My boon I make it, that you know me not 
Till time and I think meet 

Cor. Then be *t so, my good lord — How does the king ? 

Docl. Madam, sleeps still. 

Cor. O you kind gods, 
Cure this great breach in his abused nature 1 15 

TV untuned and jarring senses, oh, wind up 
Of this child-changed father ! 

DodK So please your majesty 

8. Pardon] Pardon me Qq, Jen. Steev. 
Ec. Var. Coll. Del, Sing. Wh. Ktly, 

11, 12. Till.... jo] One line, Pope, 
Theob. Han. Warb. Till....lord. One 
line, Rowe, Johns. Cap. Jen. Mai. Ktly. 
Two lines, Ff. 

12. be '/] beet Q t . be it Q,, Pope+, 
Cap. Steev. Ec Var. Knt, Sing. Ktly. 

so, my good lord.— flow] fo my 
good Lord; How Ff. fo, my good 
Lord how Q f fo : my Lord how Q,. 
to. My lord, how Pope i. so My lord- 
how Pope ii. so, My lord. — How Theob. 

Han. Warb. Cap. 

12. [To the Physician. Theob. 
[Going towards the Bed. Cap. 

13. 17. Do6t] Cent. Ff. 

13. sleeps] he sleep Ktly. 

14. you kind] Kind Cap. 
14* 15* One line, Q s . 

16. and jarring] and hurrying Qq. 

17. child-changed] child changed Q,. 
So please] Please Pope+. 
majesty] Maiefty, F s . Majefty. 

17. 18. So..Mngf] One line, Qq. 

9. made intent] Warburton : There is a dissonancy in terms in • made intent* ; 
one implying the idea of a thing done ; the other, undone. I suppose Sh. wrote 
€ laid intent,' t. e. projected. [Thus Warburton's text.] Johnson: An intent made 
is an intent formed. So we say, in common language, to make a design, and to make 
a resolution. Collier: This is altered to *main intent' in the (MS); that is, my 
chief purpose. There can be no doubt of its fitness, since all that could be extracted 
from ' made intent ' was, that it was an intent formed. Kent says that he cannot 
change his dress, since he must, in that case, be known, which would defeat his chief 
purpose. [Thus Collier's text.] Staunton: Collier's (MS) proposes a very 
plausible change. 

17. child-changed] Steevens : That is, changed to a child by bis years and hit 
wrongs ; or, perhaps, reduced to this condition by his children. Henley : Lear is 
become insane, and this is the change referred to. Insanity is not the property of 
second childhood, but dotage. Malone : Changed by his children. So care-crafd, 
wave-worn, &c. Delius conjectures that it may mean that he has exchanged chil- 
dren ; that is, that he has left Regan and Goneril and come to Cordelia. Hal- 
LtWELL : A father changed by the conduct of his children. Cordelia offers the kind- 
ness of another child, to make restoration to what he was before he was altered by 
her sisters. Abbott, § 430, adopts Steevens's view ; that is, < changed to a child.' 



[act IV, SC. vii. 

That we may wake the king ? he hath slept long. 

Cor. Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed 
I* th* sway of your own will. — Is he array'd ? 

Gent Ay, madam ; in the heaviness of ' sleep 
We put fresh garments on him. 

Dodf. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him ; 
I doubt not of his temperance. 

* Cor. Very well. 

* Doit. Please you, draw near. — Louder the music there !* 




18. That'] Om. Q,. 

king? he...iong.] Han. king, He 
...long. Q f . King Hi.. Jong, Q,. King, 
he...longt Ff. 

20. array d ?] arayd, Q, , 

[Soft, music. Wh. 
[Enter Lear in a chaire carried 
by Seruants. Ff, Del. Sch. Om. Qq. 

21. Gent.] Dodt. Qq, Coll. Del. Sing. 
Ktly, Sch. Phys. Pope+, Jen. 

of % sUep] Ed.^/^/rFf.Rowe+, 

Cap. Ec. Knt, Del. Dyce, Sta. Sch. of 
hisjleepe Qq et cet. 

23. Docl.] Cap. (subs.), Wh. Glo.+. 
Gent. Q t . Kent. Q,, Coll. Del. Sing. 
Ktly. Continued to Gent or Phys. or 
Doct Ff+, Jen. Sch. 

Be by, good madam] Good Madam 
be By Qq, Coll. Sing. 

24. not] Om. F t F 9 . 

24, 25. Cox... .there f] Om. Ff+. 

20. Is he array'd ?] From this question Delius infers that the stage-direction of 
the Ff is correct, and that Lear is not on the stage at the opening of the scene. [But, 
if Lear be represented on or in a bed, Cordelia's question is not inappropriate, or, 
if he be asleep, in a chair, swathed round with robes, the question might still be 
asked. — Ed.] 

21. of 'sleep] I think this is, probably, an instance of the absorption of his. — Ed. 
25. Louder . • . there !] Capkll : A noble thought of the poet's in this editor's 

judgement [1. e. Capell's] ; what he gathers [from these words] is this : that a soft 
4 music ' should be heard at the scene's opening, and behind the bed, which is dis- 
tant; that this music had been Lear's composer, and (together with his composure) 
his cure ; that it is now call'd-to by the Doctor for the purpose of waking him, by 
such strains as were proper, rising gradually ; which is not a noble thought only, but 
just, and of good effect on the scene. 

25. music] Bucknill (p. 222) : This seems a bold expenment, and one not uu- 
fraught with danger. The idea that the insane mind is beneficially influenced by 
music is, indeed, an ancient and general one ; but that the medicated sleep of insanity 
•should be interrupted by it, and that the first object presented to the consciousness 
should be the very person most likely to excite profound emotion, appear to be ex- 
pedients little calculated to promote that tranquillity of the mental functions which is, 
undoubtedly, the safest state to induce, after the excitement of mania. A suspicion 
of this may have crossed Shakespeare's mind, for he represents Lear in imminent 
danger of passing into a new" form of delusion. The earliest note of the employ- 
ment of music in the treatment of the insane is in the Bible (1 Sam. xvi) where 
David calmed Saul. . . . Modern physicians appear to Tiave little faith in its effects 
when simply listened to. Esquirol says, ' I have often employed music, but very 
rarely obtained any success thereby. It calms and composes the mind, but does not 

ACT TV, SC. Vii.] 



Cor. O my dear father, restoration hang« 26 

Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss 
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters 
Have in thy reverence made ! 

Kent. Kind and dear princess ! 

Cor. Had you not been their father, these white flakes 30 
Did challenge pity of them. Was this a face 
To be opposed against the warring winds ? 

* To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder? 

* In the most terrible and nimble stroke 

* Of quick, cross lightning? to watch, poor perdu t 35 

26-29. 0...madef] Three lines, end* 
ing iips,.. s fijlers,...made. Q,. Four lines, 
father v ..lippes>...harmes...made. Q 9 . 

26. father, restoration] Ff (reftaura* 
Han F s ), Huds. Sch. father re/loratto 
Q f . father, Reftoration Q,. father! 
Restoration Pope et cet. 

restoration hang] Restauratum, 
hang Theob. Warb. Johns. Cap. Jen. 
Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. Sing. Sta. Wh. 

27. Thy] Her Han. Its So quoted 
by Mrs Jameson. 

[Kisses him. Johns. 
29. dear] dearest Theob. Warb. Johns. 
31. Did challenge] Ff+, Cap. Sch. 

Had chaUengd Q,. Had challeng > dQ m 
et cet. 

31. a face] face FJF 4 , Rowe, Pope, 
Han. Jen. 

32. opposed] expofdQq, Pope +, Jen, 
Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. i, Sing. Ktly. 

warring] tarring F f . jarring 
F,F S F 4 , Rowe, Knt, Sch. 

33-36. To...helmt] Om. Ff, Rowe, 
Pope, Han. 

33. dread-bolted] Hyphen, Theob. 
35. lightning? to] AsinTheob. light- 

ning to Q,. lightning, to Q,. 

watch, poor perdu f] Warb. 
watch poore Per da, Qq. watch poor 
Perdue: Theob. 

cure. I have seen insane persons whom music rendered furious ; • • . I believe the 
ancients exaggerated the effects of music, while the facts recorded by modern writers 
are not sufficiently numerous to determine under what circumstances it possibly may 
be of benefit. This means of treatment, however, is precious, especially in con- 
valescence, and ought not to be neglected, however indeterminate may be the prin* 
ciples of its application, and however uncertain may be its efficacy.' 

26. restoration, &c] Warburton : This is fine. She invokes the goddess of 
health, Hygieia, under the name of ' Restoration/ to make her the minister of her rites, 
In this holy office of recovering her father's lost senses. Stbeveks: ' Restoration* 
is no more than recovery personified. Delius : The construction is 'Let restoration 
hang/ &c. * Thy medicine ' is Lear's medicine, the medicine which is to restore 
him. [This is also Hudson's explanation, and clearly the true one. — Ed.] 

33. dread-bolted] Cowden Clarke calls attention to the number of compound 
words in this play. 

35. lightning] Walker ( Vers. 17) : Is not 'lightning 9 a trisyllable? Pronounce, 
I think, ' ptrdu ; ' the flow of the verse shows this ; and the instances I have met 
with of the use of the word mostly agree with this supposition. [Here follow many 
instances of pirdue (among them the line from The Little French Lawyer quote 

30O KING LEAR [aqt iv. sc. yU 

* With this thin helm ?* Mine enemy's dog, 36 
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night 

Against my fire ; and wast thou fain, poor father, 
To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn. 

36. helm t Mini] helme mine Q,. enem/s Thcob. Warb. Johns. Mine in- 

36-38. Mine...father,'] Three * lines, /urer*sCap. 
ending me,...Jire,. ..father), Ff. Ending 36. dog] dog, evenKtly. 

should. ;..father, Pope. 36-42. Mine...him t '] Lines end shou'a 

36. Mine enemy s\ Pope. MineEne* ...wast., jwine.. atraw ?...wits,...wakes,... 

tnjies Ff. mine iniurious Qq. My very him. Han. (reading Alack / only once). 

below) and of ' lightning' as a trisyllable. See also to the same effect Abbott. 
§ 477. Keightley's text reads * lightening.'] 

35. perdu] Reed: In Polemon's Collection of Sallels, hi. 1. p. 98/ an account of 
the battle of Marignano is translated from Jovius, in which is the following passage : 

* They were very chosen fellowes taken out of all the Cantons, men in the prime of 

youth, and of singular forwardenesse : who by a very auntient order of that country, that 
by dooyng some deede of passyng prowesse they may obtaine rare honour of warrefare 
before they be growen in yeares, doe of themselves request all perillous and harde* 
pieces of service, and often use with deadlye praise to runne unto proposed death. 
These men do they call, of their immoderate fortitude and stoutnesse, the desperats 
forlorn e hopen, and the Frenchmen enfans perdus : and it is lawfull for them, by the 
prerogative of their prowesse, to beare an ensigne, to- have conducte and double wages 
all their life long. Neyther. are the forlorne knowen from the rest by anye other 
marke and cognisance than the plumes of white feathers, the which, after the manner 
of captaines, they doe tourn behinde, waveryng over theyr shoulder with a brave kynde 
of riot.' Again, in Bacon's Apology touching the late Earl of Essex, 1 65 1, p. 105 : 
« — you have put me like one of those that the Frenchmen call Enfans perdus that 
serve on foot before horsemen.'- Whalley : Amongst other desperate services in 
which the forlorn hope, or enfans perdus, were engaged, the night-watches seem to 
have been a common one. So in Beau, and Fl. : * These are trim things. I am set 
here like a perdu, To watch a fellow that has wrong' d my mistress.' — Little French 
Lawyer, II, iii. Wright : Cotgrave says, ' Enfans perdus. Perdus ; or the forlorne 
hope, of a campe (are commonly Gentlemen of Companies).' Moberly : The mean- 
ing may be simply « poor lost one.' [The Cambridge. Edition records pour perdu 
as a conjecture by Pye, but I think it is merely a misprint in the latter's volume. — Ed.] 

36. dog] Collier : The misprint of the Qq : injurious for * enemy's ' is quite as 
extraordinary as that of 'runaways ' for enemies in Rom. &* Jul. Mitford (Cent. 
Mag. p. 469, 1844) conjectures that the Qq lead to the word that will supply the 
line, • Mine enemy's furious dog/ Verplanck : The lale J. W. Jarvis, the artist, 
used often to quote these lines as accumulating in the shortest compass the greatest 
causes of dislike to be overcome by good-natured pity. It is not merely the personal 
enemy, for whom there might be human sympathy, that is admitted to the family 
fireside, but his dog, and that a dog who had himself inflicted his own share of 
personal injury, and that too upon a gentle being from whom it was not possible that 
he could have received any provocation. 

39. rogues] Walker, in his article 'On Slave' (Crit. ii. 308), cites this in proof 

■r" \ 

act iv, sc. vii.) KING LEAR 3<>I 

In short and musty straw ? Alack, alack ! 40 

'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once 

Had not concluded all. — He wakes ; speak to him. 

Doft. Madam, do you ; 'tis fittest 

Cor. How does my royal lord? How fares your ma- 
jesty? t 

Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o' th* grave ; 45 

Thou art ajoulinJbdiss^ but I am bound 
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears 
Do scald like molten lead 

Cor. Sir, do you know me ? 

41. thy] my F S F 4 . 44. Two lines, Ff. 

42. concluded all.— He] concluded aU t 45. j th'] ath Q,. a'th Q,. 
he Q t . concluded.— Ah I he Warb. 48. scald] fcal*d F s . 

43. Doct] Gen. F g . Gent. F S F $ F 4 . do you know met] know me. Q. 
do you;] do you speak % Han. know ye me? Q,. 

that ' rogue/ like slave and villainy was not originally an opprobrious term, but sig- 
nified properly vagrant. 

40. short] Moberly: If the reading is correct, 'short' must mean insufficient. 
But may not dirt have been the original ? [It is difficult to attach any meaning to 
4 short* that seems appropriate here; the word must be a misprint. Moberly's con- 
jecture occurred independently to the present Ed.] 

41. wonder] Wright: Used for wonderful, just as In Bacon frequently we 
find 'reason' for 'reasonable.' See, for instance, Essay xi, p. 39: 'Nay, retire 
Men cannot, when they would; neither will they, when it were Reason.' It 
occurs in Chaucer, Squyeres Tale (1. 10562, ed. T. Wright) : * Tho speeken they 
of Canacees ryng, And seyden alle, that such a wonder thing Of craft of rynges 
herd they never noon.' Again, in the Knightes Tale, L 2075 (ed. Tyrwhitt): 
• Ther saw I many another wonder stone.' Compare ' it is danger,' L 79, for ' it 
is dangerous.' 

42. all] For other instances of this adverbial use, see Schmidt s. v. 

47. fire] Moberly : It would almost seem as if Sh. had borrowed the description 
of Lear's reviving senses from what he had seen or known of in some one recov- 
ered from drowning. At any rate, the feelings of one thus returning to life, as 
described by Sir F. Beaufort, have striking points of resemblance: «A helpless 
anxiety seemed to press on every sense, and to prevent the formation of any dis- 
tinct thought; and it was with difficulty that I became convinced I was really 
alive. Again, instead of being free from bodily pain, as in my drowning state, I 
was now tortured with pain all over me ; and though I have often been wounded, 
and had to submit to severe surgical discipline, yet my sufferings at that time were 
far greater, at least in general distress.' — Martineau, Biog. Sketches, p. 221. [Does 
Lear refer to physical pain ? — Ed.] 

47. that] For 'that' equivalent to so that, see Ham. IV, vi, 211, and IV, 
vii, 148. 


302 KING LEAR [act iv, sc vii. 

Lear. You are a spirit, I know ; when did you die ? 

Cor. Still, still, for wide ! 50 

Doct. He's scarce awake; let him alone awhile. 

Lear. Where have I been ? Where am I ? Fair day- 
I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity, 
To see another thus. I know not what to say. 
I will not swear these are my hands. Let 's see; 55 

I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured 
Of my condition t 

Cor. Oh, look upon me, sir, 

And hold your hands in benedi&ion o'er me. 
* No, sir,* you must not kneel. 

Lear. Pray, do not mock me ; 

I am a very foolish, fond, old man, 60 

49. You are] Yar Q t . Vare Q^ Wh. Ktly. 

when] where Q^F., Coll. i, Sch. 54. what to say] what Han. 

51. Docl.] Gen. or Gent. Ff. 56, 57. I feel....condition] One line, 

51, 52. Four lines, Ff. Qq. 

53. / am] Vm Pope+, Jen. Sta. 57-59- Oh 9 ..Jkneel.] Prose, Q,. 

Dyce ii, Huds. 57. upon] on Han. 

mightily] much Han. 58. hands] hand Ff+, Knt, Sch. 

e'en] ene Qq. eu'n F t F^ Sch. 59. No % sir,] Om. Ff, Rowe. 

even F 3 F 4 , Rowe, Theob. Warb. Johns. me] Om. Q f . 

Cap. Steev. Ec. Var. Coll. Del. Sing. 60. old man] old-man Ktly. 

49. when] Dyce {Remarks t 231) : Where is all but nonsense. Collier : It may 
appear to others no greater nonsense to ask a spirit * Where did you die?' than 
' When did you die ? ' It is, as Cordelia says, ' Still, still far wide.' 

53. abused] Johnson : I am strangely imposed on by appearances ; lam in a 
strange mist of uncertainty. [See Ham. II, ii, 579 : ' Abuses me to damn me.'] 

58. benediction] Hudson: A parent's curse was a dreadful thing among our 
foolish ancestors ; and so Cordelia longs first of all to have her father revoke the 
curse he pronounced upon her in the opening of the play. She had not learned to 
act as if ' a man were author of himself, and knew no other kin.' 

59. kneel] Steevens : This circumstance I find in the old play of King Zeir. 
As it is always difficult to say whether such accidental resemblances proceed from 
imitation, or a similarity of thinking on the same occasion, I can only point out this 
to the reader, to whose determination I leave the question. [See Appendix, p. 400.] 

60-75. Ray (p. 500) : A more faithful picture of the mind, at the moment when 
it is emerging from the darkness of disease into the clear atmosphere of health 
restored, was never executed than this of Lear's recovery. Generally, recovery from 
acute mania is gradual, one delusion after another giving away, until, after a series 
of struggles, which may occupy weeks or months, between the convictions of reason 
and the suggestions of disease, the patient comes out a sound, rational man. In a 

ACT IV. SC. vii.] 



Fourscore and upward, not an Jiour more nor less; 61 

And, to deal plainly, 

I fear I am not in my- perfect mind 

Methinks I should know you and know this man ; 

Yet I am doubtful ; for I am mainly ignorant 65 

What place this is, and all the skill I have 

Remembers not these garments, nor I know not 

Where I did lodge last night Do not laugh at me; 

For, as I am a man, I think this lady 

To be my child Cordelia. 

Cor. And so I am : I am* 70 

Lear. Be your tears wet ? yes, faith. Tpray, weep not 

61, 62. Fourscore. ..plainly] As in Knt 
Three lines, Ff. Two lines, ending up~ 
ward. ...plainly, Rowe, Cap. Del. Sing. 

61. Fourscore] Fourscore years Ktly, 
reading the rest as Qq. 

not. ...less ;] Om. (reading Four* 
/core... plainly as one line),Qq, Pope+, 
Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Ktly. 

62. plainly] plainly with you Han. 

63. in my per/eel] per/eel in my Q^. 

65. for I am] for Pm Pope + , Jen. 
Oyce if, Huds. 

67. nor J] *<xy /Popc+. 

68. n of] no Q a . 

70. lam: lam.] F t . fam.Qq. lam: 
I am, F,F S F 4 . I am; I am — Rowe, 
Pope, Han. / am; I am,— Theob. 

'Warb. Johns. Jen. I am, I am. Cap. 
et cet. 

71. Be...wef] One line, Ff. 
pray] pray you Rowe+, Jen. 

smail proportion of cases,- however, this change takes place very rapidly. Within 
the space of a few hours or a day he recognizes his true condition, abandons his 
delusions, and contemplates all his relations in an entirely different light. 

61. not • • • less] Steeveks: The authenticity of this passage Sir Joshua Rey- 
nolds justly suspects. It was probably the interpolation of some player, and is better 
omitted, both in regard to sense and versification. Ritson agrees with Steevens, and' 
adds 'foolish* before « player.' Malqnb Says that the Folio's 'absurd' addition 
means <not an hour more or less than an indeterminate number, for such is fourscore 
and upward* Knight denounces the omission of this phrase as a sacrilege not less- 
than the breaking off of a limb from an ancient statue. 'Why,* who is speaking? 
One who speaks logically and connectedly? No! one who immediately after says, 
" I fear I am not in my perfect mind." It was the half-consciousness of the " fool- 
ish, fond old man" which Sh. meant to express by the mixture of a determinate and' 
an indeterminate idea.' Walker ( Vers. 156) : The words are nonsense, it is true, 
but are they out of place in the mouth of Lear? Hudson: The nonsense of them, 
indicating, as it does, some remains of Lear's disorder, is the very reason why they 
should be retained. 

70. I am : I am.] Cowden Clarke: Never surely was the passionate weeping 
of a reticent woman more perfectly expressed in brief written words than these and 
the 'No cause, no cause' that follow. They so admirably portray the suppressed 
weeping natural to such a character as Cordelia's; concentrated and undemonstra- 
tive, yet intensely loving and earnest. 

304 KING LEAR [aciiv.SC 

If you have poison for me, I mil drink it 
I know you do not love me ; for your sisters 
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong ; 
Vou have some cause, they have not 

Cor. No cause, no cause. 

Lear. Am I in France ? 

Kent In your own kingdom, sir. 

Lear. Do not abuse me. 

Doel. Be comforted, good madam ; the great rage, 
You see, is kill'd in him ; * and yet 'tis danger 
* To make him even o'er the time he has lost* 
Desire him to go in ; trouble him no more 
Till further settling. 

74. uw]«wF.. «rVHan. cured in Aim Qq et ce 

75. nc/] none Han. 79, 80. amL-Joit.} Om. Ff, R. 

77. mm.] met Q,. Pope, Han. 

78. DoA] Gent. Ff. 79. >tii\ Jen. Klly, Dyce ii, H 

78-83. £e..jtt//ing:\ Theob. Prase, Sch. 'twin Theob. Warb. Johns. 

Qq. Three lints, ending rage.,gv in,... Qq et cet. 
fitting. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 80. even\ even go Ktly. 

7g. kiU'd in hini\ FT, Rowe, Knt, he hai\ A'« Theob. Wart. Jo 

Del. Dyce, Sta. Glo.+, Coll. iii, Sob, 81. treuiU] And /roui// Pope, h 

79. kill'd] Collier : QueWdvax perhaps the poet's word, xnd gut/I'd nnH'H 
in most systems of short-hand, would be spelt with the same letter*. 

80. even o'er] Warbuhton : That is. to reconcile it to his apprehension. S 
YENS : I believe Warburton's explanation is just. The poor old king had nothir 
tell, though he had much to hear. The speaker's meaning, therefore, I conceit 
be — it is dangetous to render ail that passed during the interval of his insanity, 
(■'. e. plain or level) to his understan ling, while it continues in its present stati 
uncertainty. Collier: We may suspect some corruption, but the meaning is 
dent, and no alteration absolutely required. Hudson: This means, try to accoun. 
the time, or to make the last day of his remembering tally or fit with the pre: 
Delius prefers to consider 'even' as an adjective rather than as a verb. Sen* 
(Lex. s. v. even, adj. 7) : That is, to give a full insight into, a clear perceptior 
Wright: To smooth over, render what had passed unbroken in his recoiled 
The seme is the same [whether it be taken as an adj. or as a verb], but it seems 
ferable to consider it as a verb. The danger consisted rather in allowing Lj 
mind to exert itself in recalling the past than in telling him what bad happe 
SCHMIDT: A verb to even equivalent to to imooth is not to be found in Sh. 

83. settling] Brigiiam {Am. your, of Insanity, July, 1844) ; We confess, all 
with shame, that, although near two centuries and a half have passed since Sh. 
wrote, we have very little to add to his method of treating the insane as thus poi 
out To produce sleep, and to quiet the mind by medical and moral treatmen 
avoid all unkindness, and, when patients begin to convalesce, to guard, as be dir< 

! !j 




Cor. Will 't please your highness walk ? 83 

Lear. You must bear with me. Pray you now, forget 
and forgive; I am old and foolish. 85 

[Exeunt all but Kent and Gentleman. 

* Gent. Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall 
*was so slain? 

* Kent. Most certain, sir. 

* Gent. Who is conduftor of his people ? 

* Kent. As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester. gib 

* Gent. They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the 

* Earl of Kent in Germany. 

* Kent. Report is changeable. Tis time to look about ; 

* the powers of the kingdom approach apace. 

* Gent. The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you 95 

* well, sir. [Exit. 

* Kent. My point and period will be throughly wrought, 

* Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought [«£*#.* 

S3. JPB/YJRowe. jrarQqFtdp. 
(corrected in Errata). 
your] you F t . 

84. Pray you] Pray Qq. 

84, 85. You.../oolish.] Prose, Q x , Gun. 
Wr. Three lines, ending me :.../orgiue, 
...fooli/k, in Q a Ff+, Jen. Two lines, 
Che first ending me: Cap. et cet. 

85. lam] I'm Dyce ii, Huds. 
[Exeunt...] Exeunt Manet Kent 

and Gent. Qq (subs.) Exeunt. Ff. 

86-98. Om. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 

86-96. /folds. .air.] Lines end sir,... 
sir....said t ...Edgar t ...JCent t ....changeabU 

kingdom arbitrement....jir. Cap. 

Lines end sir t ...jir..jaid t ....Edgar t .... 

Kent t ....changeable....JtiMgdom.„Mpat€+m. 
bloody ..Mr. Steev. Bos. Knt, Sing. 

86. that] Om. Cap. 

go. As 'tis] Tit C*p. AsitisWL 

93-96. Lines end about v 

95. The] And the Cap. 

bloody] most bloody Cxp. a bloody 
Steer. Bos. 

96. [Exit] Exit Gent Theob. Om. 

97. throughly] thoroughly Wh. 

98. battle's] Theob. battels Qq. 
[Exit.] Exit Kent Theob. Om. 

against anything likely to disturb their minds And to cause a relapse, is now consid* 

ered the best and nearly the only essential treatment 
83. walk] Schmidt: That is, go, withdraw. [See III, iv, in.] 
85. Coleridge : How beautifully the affecting return of Lear to reason, and the 

mild pathos of his speeches, prepare the mind for the last sad, yet sweet, consolation 

of the aged sufferer's death I- 
86-98. Johnson: What is omitted in the Ff is at least proper, if not necessary; 

and it was omitted by the author, I suppose,, for no other reason than to shorten the 

representation. M alone: It is much more probable that it was omitted by the 

players, after the author's departure from the stage, without consulting him. [See 

Appendix, The Text.] 

36* V 





Scene I. The British camp near Dover. 

Enter \ with drum and colours, Edmund, Regan, Gentlemen, and Soldiers. 

Edm. Know of the duke if his last purpose hold. 
Or whether since he is advised by aught 
To change the course. He 's full of alteration 
And self-reproving. Bring his constant pleasure. 

[To a Gentleman, who goes out 

Reg. Our sister's man is certainly miscarried. 

Edm. Tis to be doubted, madam. 

Reg. Now, sweet lord, 

You know the goodness I intend upon you ; 
Tell me, — but truly, — but then speak the truth, 
Do you not love my sister ? 

Edm. In honour'd love. 

Reg. But have you never found my brother's way 
To the forfended place ? 

* Edm. That thought abuses you. 

* Reg. I am doubtful that you have been conjunft 

* And bosom'd with her, as far as we call hers.* 


Act V. Scene i.] Actus Quintus. 
Scena Prima Ff (Scsena F a ). 

The British...] Cap. (subs.) A 
Camp. Rowe. 

Enter...] Ff. Enter Edmund, Regan, 
and their powers. Qq. Enter Bastard, 
Regan, Gentlemen, and Soldiers. Rowe. 
Enter Edmund, Regan, Gentleman and 
Soldiers. Warb. 

2. aught) Theob. ought QqFf. 

3. course^ Coll. cour/e,QqFL course? 
Pope +, Jen. 

He's) hetsQ a . 
alteration) abdication Q t . 

4. self-reproving) Hyphened in Q^ 

fclfercprouing F t . 

4. self-reproving. Bring) self-reprov- 
ing brings Pope. 

[To...] Glo. To an Officer; who 
bows, and goes out. Cap. Om. QqFf. 

8. me,— but truly, — ] Johns, me but 
truly, Q,Ff+. me truly Q^. me, but 
truly, Cap. 

9. In) I, Q f . / Q a . Ay, in Anon.* 
IO-14. Om. Johns. 

1 1 . forfended ) fore fended Ff. 
II-13. Edm....hers.) Om. Ff+. 

12, 13. Iam...hers.) Prose, Q,. 
12-14. I^madam) Om. Cap. 

4. constant pleasure] Johnson: His settled resolution. See 'constant will/ 
I, i, 41. 

6. doubted] Schmidt (Lex.) : That is, feared, suspected. [So also 'doubtful/ 
line 12.] 




Edm. No, by mine honour, madam. 

Reg. I never shall endure hen Dear my lord, If 

Be not familiar with hen 

Ednu Fear me not— 

She and the duke her husband t 

Enter* with drum and colours, Albany, Goneril, and Soldiers. 

* Gon. [Aside] Iliad rather lose the battle than that sister 

* Should loosen him andLme.* 

Alb. Our very loving sister, well be-met— 20 

Sir, this I hear: the king is come to his daughtei, 
With others whom the rigour of our state 
Forced to cry out * Where I could not be honest, 

* I never yet was valiant; for this business, 

14. madam] Om. Pope, Han. 

15.16. Inever..Mr.] Prose, Q,. Two 
lines, the first ending endure her in Q,. 

16. 17. Fear....husband] Cap. One 
line, QqFf+, Jen. 

16. me] Om. Ff+. 

17. husband f] Del. Dyce, Glo.-t-, 
Huds. husband. QqFf, Sing. Sch. hus* 
band— Rowe et cet. 

Enter...and Soldiers.] Ehter...Sol* 
diers. Ff. Enter Albany and Gonorill 
with troupes. Qq. 

18, 19. Gon. /"] Theob. Prose, 
Q,. Two lines, the first ending battell, 

in Qr Om. Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. 

18. [Aside] First by Theob. 

/ had] Pd Theob. Warb. Johns. 
lose] Theob. loo/e Qq. 
sister] my sister Ktly. 

19. loosen] cofin Q . 

20. be-met] be met Q F 4 , Rowe + , Cap. 
Jen. Steev. Ec. Var. Knt. 

21. Sir, this fheard]F(, Rowe, Pope, 
Han. Knt, Dyce i, Sch. For this I 
heare Qq. .Sir, this I hear Theob. et 
cet. 'Fore this, I hear, Mai. conj. 

23-28. Where...nobly.] Om. Ff. 
24. for] 'fore Theob. 

15. endure] Delius : That is, I never shall suffer her to be so intimate with you. 

20. be-met] Abbott, §438: In participles, be-, like other prefixes, is often redun- 
dant, and seems to indicate an unconscious want of some substitute for the old 
participial prefix. Wright: The prefix here has apparently no force whatever. 
Schmidt: Only found here, and perhaps coined by Sh. 

24-27. for . . . oppose] Theobald (followed by Warburton and Johnson) 
represents this speech as broken off by Edmund's interruption, and therefore has 
merely a comma and a dash after ' oppose. 9 He also supposes that * for ' is a con- 
traction of before, and prints it fore, and thus paraphrases the whole sentence: 
* Before We fight this Battle, Sir, it concerns me, (tho' not the King, and the discon- 
tented Party;) to question about your Interest in our Sister, and the Event of the 
War.' He adds : ' And Regan and Gonerill, in their Replies, both seem apprehen- 
sive that this. Subject was coming into Debate.' Warburton pronounces it ' a very 
plain speech,' and gives the meaning thus : This quarrel is just in one sense and 
unjust in another. As France invades our land, I am concerned to repel him, but as 
he holds, entertains and supports the king, and others whom I fear many just and 



[ACT V, SC. L 

* It toucheth us, as France invades our land, 

* Not bolds the king, with others, whom, I fear, 

* Most just and heavy causes make oppose. 

* Edm. Sir, you speak nobly.* 

Reg. Why is this reasoned ? 

Gon. Combine together 'gainst the enemy ; 
For these domestic and particular broils 



25. toucheth] touches Q,. 

26. Not.....others] Not the old king 
others, or Not holds with the king, 

and others or Upholds the king and 
others f&asoa. 

26, 27. Not...4ppose] In parenthesis, 

26. bolds] holds Pope +, Jen. holds 
to Han. holds for Cap. Ec. 

hing,] king; Mai. Steev. Bos. Knt, 

26, 27. vnih..joppose] Om. Sing. Ktly. 

27. oppose.] oppose,— Theob. Warb. 

28. Edm. Sir^Jtobly.] Om. Pope, 

nobly] odly. or coldly Mason. 
30. and particular broils] dore par* 
Oculars Q,. doore particulars, Q,. 
particular] particurlar F s . 

heavy causes make, or compel, as it were, to oppose us, I esteem it unjust to engage 
against them. Capell thus paraphrases: *A$ for this business, — it toucheth us as 
France invades our kingdom, not as he holds for the king, in conjunction with the 
others whom/ &c Steevens: This business touches us as France invades our 
land, not as it * bolds the king/ i. e. emboldens him to assert his former title. Thus 
in the ancient interlude of Hycke Scorner : * Alas, that I had not one to bold me ! ' 
Again, in Hall's trans, of the Fourth Iliad, 1581 : * And Pallas bolds the Greeks/ &c 
[As Wright observes, Steevens is wrong here ; it is not ' this business ' that ' bolds 
the king/ but ' France/ as Warburton and Capell have justly interpreted it. For a 
long list of verbs like 'bolds' formed from nouns and adjectives, see Abbott, 
§ 290.— Ed.] Cambridge Editors : ' Not bolds the king * is usually interpreted as 
on elliptical phrase for * Not as it emboldens the king.' This is, however, a very 
harsh construction, and the word ' bolds ' occurs nowhere else in Sh. with this 
meaning, though we have, according to the most probable reading, 'deaiM' for 
« endear* d ' in Ant. 6* Cleop. I, iv, 44. Possibly these words are corrupt and a line 
has dropped out before them. Albany ought to say something of this kind : ' I 
should be ready to resist any mere invader, but the presence in the invader's camp 
of the king and other Britons, who have a just cause of enmity to us, dashes my 

28. nobly] Capell: Edmund's reply is irony, and his 'nobly' a trisyllable. 
'Walker {Vers. 12) says that 'nobly' is not a fair instance of the expansion of a 
dissyllable into a trisyllable, like * angry/ * children/ &c, because ' nobly ' is con- 
tracted from noblely. Abbott, 2 477» cites it under that head. 

30. particular] Malone : Doore or dore of the Qq was probably a misprint for 
dear, i.e. important. Steevens: 'Door particulars ' signify, I believe, particulars 
at our very doors, close to us, and consequently fitter to be settled at home. Collier : 
The text of the Qq is impossible to strain to a meaning unless we suppose door mis- 
printed for poor. MlTFORD (Gent. Maga. p. 469, 1844) : In ' doore particulars ' of 
the Qq the d is only a / reversed. Read then, ' these domestic poore particulars.' 

ACT V. SC. L] 



Are not the question here. 

Alb. Let 's then determine 

With th* ancient of war on our proceeding. 

* Edm. I shall attend you presently at your tent* 

Reg. Sister, you '11 go with us ? 

Gon. No. 

Reg* Tis most convenient ; pray you, go with us, 

Gon. [Aside] Oh, ho, I know the riddle. — I will go. 



As they are going out, enter Edgar disguised. 

Edg. If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor, 
Hear me one word 
Alb. I '11 overtake you. — 

[Exeunt all but Albany and Edgar. 

Edg. Before you fight the battle, ope this letter. 40 

If you have vi&ory, let the trumpet sound 
For him that brought it ; wretched though I seem, 
I can produce a champion that will prove 

31. the] to Qq, Cap.Steev. Var. Sing. 

Let's] Letvs Qq, Stcev. Var. Coll. 
Del. Wh. 

31, 32. Let's...proceeding.] Prose, Q x . 
First line ends warre, Ff+, Knt. 

32. th* ancient] Ff + . the auntient 
Q s . the Ancient Q,. th 9 ancients Han. 
the ancient Cap. et cet. 

proceeding] Ff+, Cap. Knt, Del. 
Wh. Sch. proceedings Qq et cet. 

33. Edm. / shall....Jent.] Om. Ff, 
Rowe, Pope. Transferred to follow 
here, line 31, Theob. Warb. 

36. pray you] pray Ff, Rowe, Pope, 

Han. Sch. 

37. Oh...riddle] As * Aside ' by Cap. 
The whole line as ' Aside,' Han. Johns. 

As.. ..disguised.] Theob. Enter 
Edgar. Q x . Exit. Enter Edgar. Q^ 
Exeunt both the Armies. Enter Edgar. 
Ff. Exeunt. Scene n. Manet Albany. 
Enter Edgar. Pope + , Jen. As they are 
going out, and Albany last, Enter Ed* 
gar. Cap. 

38. man] one Q t . 

39. [Exeunt....] Exeunt Edm. Reg. 
Gon. and Attendants. Theob. Exeunt, 
(after word), Q f . Om. Q a Ff. 

42. wretched] wretch F t F s F 4 . 

32. ancient of war] Eccles : With such as are grown old in the practice of the 
military art. Walker (Crit. iii, 283) : Possibly « th* ancient men of war.' [Schmidt 
suggests the same.] Abbott, § 479, thus scans : ' With th' an | dent |of war | on 6ur | 
proceedings.' "Wright : The line is metrically defective and may be corrupt. Mo- 
berly : As we should say with the Adjutant-General. The word is derived from 
the Italian 'anziano/ but seems to have got confused in English with ' ensign/ as a 
Yorkshireman speaks of ' the ancient of yon vessel.' 

37. riddle] Moberly : You want me with you only that you may keep watch 
over all my dealings with Edmund. 



[ACT V, SC. i. 

What is avouched there. If you miscarry, 

Your business of the world hath so an end, 45 

And machination ceases. Fortune love you ! 

Alb. Stay till I have read the letter. 

Edg. I was forbid it 

When time shall serve/ let but the herald cry, 
And J'll appear again. 

Alb. Why, fare thee well. I will o'erlook thy paper. 50 

{Exit Edgar. 

Re-enter Edmund. 

Edm. The enemy's in view; draw up your powers. 
Here is the guess of their true strength and forces 
By diligent discovery ; but your haste 
Is now urged on you. 

Alb. We will greet the time. [Exit. 

Edm. To both these sisters have I sworn my love ; 55 

Each jealous of the other, as the stung 

46. And. ..ceases.] Om. Qq. 
love] tones Ff, Rowe. 

47. / kave\ Pve Pope+, Jen. Sta. 
Dyce ii, Huds. 

47-49. I was. ..again.] Prose, Q,. 

50. /...paper] Separate line/Walker 
(Cn/.iii. 283). 

overlook] lookt ore Q,. 
thy] the Qq. 

[Exit Edgar.] Dyce. Exit, (after 
again, line 49), QqFf. 

Re-enter..] Thcob. Enter.. QqFf. 

51. enemy s] enemies Q,. Enemies 

52. Here] Hard Qq, Pope+. 
guess] queffe Q s . 

true] great Qq, Jen. 
53» 54* By.] One line, Qq. 

53. haste] haft QqFf. 

[giving a paper, (after discovery), 
Jen. Showing a paper,. Coll. iii. 

54. [Exit.] Om. Q t . 

55. Scene iii. Pope+, Jen. 
sisters] ftfter Q t . 

56-58. Each...enjo/d t ] Two lines, the 
first ending Adder, Q t . Three lines, end* 
ing Adder,... otie.. .enioy'd, Q^. 

56. stung] fting Qq. 

45. of] For instances of «of ' in the sense of 'as regards/ see Abbott, J *73» or 
*of our demands Most free in his reply/ Ham % III, i, 13. 

46. machination] Johnson : All designs against your life will have an end. 
53. discovery] Wright : Reconnoitring. Compare Macb. V, iv, 6, 4 make dis- 
covery Err in report of us/ and Ant. cV Cleop. IV, xii, 2. 

53, 54. but . . . you] Heath : But the urgency of the present exigence will allow 
you but a short time for the perusal of it. Collier: It appears from the (MS) that 
Edmund did not give, but showed, a paper to Albany. Schmidt paraphrases: the 
need, th.\t you be not dilatory now falls to you. Hitherto you have let me do every- 
thing (witness the reconnoitring just finished), now you yourself must act. 

54. time] Johnson: We will be ready to gTeet the occasion. 

56. jealous] Dki U'S: Suspicious. Wright: Cotgrave gives «Ialoux: m.ouse;£ 
Jealous j mistrustful, suspicious.' In Lowland Scotch «to jalouse* is 'to suspect/ 

Acrv.scL] KING LEAR 3 11 

Are of the adder Which of them shall I take? 57 

Both ? one ? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd, 

If both remain alive. To take the widow 

Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril ; 60 

And hardly shall I carry out my side, 

Her husband being alive. Now then we'll use 

His countenance for the battle ; which being done, 

Let her who would be rid of him devise 

His speedy taking off. As for the mercy 6$ 

Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia, — 

The battle done, and they within our power, 

Shall never see his pardon ; for my state 

58. Both? one?] both one Qq. 66. intends] entends Q t . extends Q,. 

64. who] that Q<i. 68. Shall never] They shall ne'er 

65. the] his Qq. Han. They shall never Ktly. 

61. side] Mason : ' I shall scarcely be able to make out my game.' The allusion 
is to a party at cards, and he is afraid that he shall not be able to make his side suc- 
cessful. Thus, in Massinger's Unnatural Combat [II, i] Belgarde says, ' if now, At 
this downright game, I may but hold your cards, I'll not pull down the side. 9 Again, 
in the The Maid's Tragedy [II, i] : 'Evad. Aspatia take her part. Dula. I will 
refuse it; she will pluck down a side ; she does not use it.' But the phrase is still 
more clearly explained in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence [IV, ii] : 'If I hold 
your cards, I shall pull down the side ; I am not good at the game.' Gifford, in a 
note on the passage in The Unnatural Combat, says : The allusion is to a party at 
cards ; to set up a side was to become partners in a game ; to pull, or pluck down a 
side (for both these terms are found in our old plays), was to occasion its loss by 
ignorance or treachery. To this Dyce (Gloss.) adds : ' and to carry out a side was 
to carry out the game with success.' White: The phrase should hardly need ex- 
planation as long as people take sides in games and in earnest. To Walker (Crit, 
iii, 283) this phrase, strangely enough, seems to have been unfamiliar; he terms 
* side ' nonsense, adding ' suite, I suppose.' Lettsom, in a foot-note, says : « IS Walker 
is right, "carry out" is used almost in the new-fangled sense common of late years. 
It seems to have nearly the same meaning in the passage quoted by Steevens from 
The Honest Man's Fortune, IV, ii [Beau, and Fl. p. 424, ed. Dyce], ' thy greatness 
may . . • carry out A world of evils with thy title.' 

67. Abbott, §411, thinks this a confusion of two constructions (like IV, vi, 33), 
viz: 'let the battle be done, and they' and 'the battle (being) done, they.' But 
Wright gives a simpler explanation, that the nominative to ' shall ' is omitted, as is 
frequently the case in sentences where the omission causes no obscurity. Of this 
omission there are numberless instances in Sh. See Lear II, ii, 114; II, iv, 41 ; 
Ham. II, ii, 67 ; III, i, 8. 

68. for my state] Johnson: I do not think that c for' stands here as a word of 
inference or causality. The meaning is rather : as for my state, it requires now, not 
deliberation, but defence and support. Wright thinks « for ' can be taken in either 


Stands on me to defend, not to debate. [Exit. 

Scene II. A field between the two camps. 

Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colours, Lear, Cordelia, and Soldien, 

over the stage ; and exeunt. 

Enter Edgar and Gloucester. 

Edg. Here, father, take the shadow of this tree 
For your good host; pray that the right may thrive; 
If ever I return to you again, 
1 '11 bring you comfort 

Glou. Grace go with you, sir ! [Exit Edgar. 

Alarum and retreat within. Re-enter Edgar. 

Edg. Away, old man ; give me thy hand ; away ! 5 

King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en. 
Give me thy hand ; come on. 

Scene ii.] Scena Secunda Ff (Scoena 3, 4. If. ..comfort.] One line, Q^. 

F t ). Scene iv. Pope+, Jen. 4. go] be F 1 F 4 -f . 

A field...] Cap. (subs.) A Field. [Exit Edgar.] Pope. ExitQqFf 

Rowe. Another open Field. Theob. (after comfort Qq). 

Alarum within. Enter...] Alarum. Alarum...] Alarum and retreat. 

Enter the powers of France ouer the Qq. 

ftage, Cordelia with her father in her Re-enter...] Theob. Enter... Q a 

Land. Qq. Ff. Om. Q f . 

I. tree] bujh Qq, Jen. 

69. defend] Rushton (Lex Scripta, p. 77) thinks that this is used in the old 
sense of * to command.' 

4. Exit Edgar] Spedding (New Sh. Soc. Trans. Part I, p. 15, 1877-79) : Sus- 
picious as I am of all criticisms which suppose a want of art in Shakespeare, I could 
not but think that there are faults in King Lear. I could not but think that in the 
last two Acts the interest is not well sustained ; that Lear's passion rises to its full 
height too early, and his decay is too long drawn out. I saw that in Shakespeare's 
other tragedies we are never called on to sympathise long with fortunes which are 
desperate. As soon as all hope for the hero is over, the general end follows rapidly. 
The interest rises through the first four Acts towards some great crisis ; in the fifth 
it pauses for a moment, crests, and breaks ; then falls away in a few short, sad scenes, 
like the sigh of a spent wave. But it was not so in Lear. The passion seemed to 
be at its height, and hope to be over, in the third Act. After that, his prospects are 
too forlorn to sustain an interest sufficiently animating ; the sympathy which attends 
him too dreary and depressing to occupy the mind properly for half the play. I felt] KING LEAR 313 

[4. Spedding's Division of Acts.] 

the want of some coming event, some crisis of expectation, the hope or dread of 
some approaching catastrophe, on the turn of which his fortunes were yet to depend* 
There was plenty of action and incident, but nothing which seemed to connect itself 
sufficiently with him. The fate of Edgar or Edmund was not interesting enough; 
it seemed a separate thing, almost an intrusion upon the proper business of the play 
I cared only about Lear But, though this seemed to be a great defect, I was aware 
that the error might be in me ; I might have caught the play in a wrong aspect, and 
I waited in the hope of finding some new point of view round which the action 
would revolve more harmoniously. In the mean time, there was another defect, of 
less moment, as I then thought, but so striking that I could not be mistaken in pro- 
nouncing it indefensible upon any just principle of criticism. This was the battle in 
the fifth Act ; a most momentous battle, yet so carelessly hurried over that it comes 
to nothing, leaves no impression on the imagination, shocks the sense of probability, 
and by its own unimpressiveness makes everything insignificant that has reference 
to it. It is a mere blank, and, though we are told that a battle has been fought and 
lost, the mind refuses to take in the idea. How peculiarly important it was to avoid 
such a defect in this particular instance, I had not then observed ; I was struck only 
with the harshness, unexampled in Shakespeare, of the effect upon the eye of a spec* 
tator In other cases a few skilful touches bring the whole battle before us — a few 
rapid shiftings from one part of the field to another, a few hurried greetings of friend 
or foe, a few short passages of struggle, pursuit, or escape, give us token of the 
conflict which is raging on all sides ; and, when the hero falls, we feel that his army 
is defeated. A page or two does it, but it is done. As a contrast with all other 
battles in Shakespeare, observe that of which I am speaking. Here is the whole 
scene as it stands in the modern editions. [The first seven lines of this scene quoted, 
with all the stage-directions.] This is literally the whole battle. The army so long 
looked for, and on which everything depends, passes over the stage, and all our hopes 
and sympathies go with it. Four lines are spoken. The scene does not change ; but 
4 alarums ' are heard, and ' afterwards a retreat,' and on the same field over which 
that great army has this .moment passed, fresh and full of hope, reappears, with 
tidings that all is lost, the same man who last left the stage to follow and fight in it. 
That Shakespeare meant the scene to stand thus, no one who has the true faith will 
believe. Still less will he believe that, as it stands, it can admit of any reasonable 
defence When Mr Macready brought out the play at Covent Garden, in 1839, he 
endeavored to soften the harshness of the effect by two deviations from the text. 
The French army did not pass over the stage, and so some room was left for imag- 
ining the battle already begun ; and, during the absence of Edgar, five or six lines, 
transferred from a former scene, were put in the mouth of Gloster, by which some 
little time was given for its disastrous issue. Both these alterations are improvements 
on the text as it now stands, so far as they go, but they certainly go a very little way; 
and I think nobody can have seen the play, as then acted, without feeling that the 
effect of that scene was decidedly bad. When I saw it myself, the unaccountable 
awkwardness of this passage struck me so forcibly that I tried to persuade myself 
(all other appearances notwithstanding) that the play must have been left in an un- 
finished state. I had almost succeeded, when it suddenly occurred to me that, by a 
very simple change in the stage-arrangement, the whole difficulty might be made to 
disappear. Upon careful examination I found that every other difficulty disappeared 


314 KING LEAR [ 

[4. Spedding's Division of Acts.] 

along with it; and I am now quite satisfied that it was the true arrangement which 
Shakespeare contemplated. My suggestion has this peculiar advantage and presump- 
tion in its favour, that it does not involve the change of a single letter in the original 
text It is simply to alter the division of the Acts ; to make the fourth Act close a 
scene and a half further on, with the exit of Edgar in the passage just quoted, and the 
fifth commence with his re-entrance. Thus the battle takes place between the Acts, 
and, the imagination having leisure to fill with anxiety for the issue, it rises into its 
proper importance as one of the great periods and passages of the story, and a final 
crisis in the fortunes of Lear. The first Act closes, as the first burst of Lear's rage is 
over, with the final renunciation of Goneril. The second leaves him in utter desola- 
tion, turned forth into the night, the storm gathering, madness coming on apace. At 
the conclusion of the third, the double tempest of the mind and of the elements has 
spent its fury, and the curtain falls upon the doubtful rumour of a new hope, and 
distant promise of retribution. At the point where I think the fourth was meant to 
end, suspense has reached its highest pitch ; the rumours have grown into certainties; 
the French forces have landed; Lear's phrenzy has abated, and, if the battle be won, 
he may yet be restored; 4 the powers of the kingdom approach apace;' the armies 
are now within sight of each other, and ' the arbitrement is like to be bloody.' Last 
of all, ' Enter ' (to take the stage-direction as it stands in the old Quarto, in which 
the divisions of the Acts an not marked) * Enter the powers of France over the stage ; 
Cordelia with her f other in her hand/ Gloster alone remains to * pray that the right 
may thrive,' and, as the curtain falls, we feel that the * bloody arbitrement ' is even 
now begun, and that all our hopes hang on the event Rising again, it discloses 
' alarums and a retreat* The battle has been fought ' King Lear hath lost ; he and 
his daughter ta'en ;' and the business of the last Act is only to gather up the issues of 
those unnatural divisions, and to close the eyes of the victims. As there is nothing 
in Shakespeare so defective in point of art as the battle-scene under the present 
stage-arrangement, so, with the single change which I have suggested, there is not 
one of his dramas conducted from beginning to end with more complicated and in- 
evitable skill. Under the existing arrangement, the pause at the end of the fourth 
Act is doubly faulty, both as interrupting the march and hurry of preparation before 
it has gathered to a head, and as making, by the interposition of that needless delay, 
the weakness and disappointing effect of the result still more palpable. Under that 
which I propose, the pause falls precisely where it ought, and is big with anxiety and 
expectation. Let the march of the French army over the stage be presented with 
military pomp and circumstance, 'Cordelia with her father in her hand' following 
(for thus the dependence of Lear and his fortunes upon the issue is brought full 
before the eye), and let the interval between the Acts be filled with some great battle- 
piece of Handel, and nothing more, I think, could be hoped or wished. On review- 
ing this paper, which was first written in 1839, 1 find nothing to add, except that the 
stage-direction in the Folio, which follows the exit of Edgar, and which I had over* 
looked, seems to point at an arrangement much like that which I have suggested* 
After both the English armies have appeared on the scene with drums and colours, 
and gone out, Edmund returns to report to Albany that the « enemy is in view,' and 
to hasten his preparations for battle. Then follows : * Alarum within. Enter, with 
drum and colours, Lear, Cordelia, and Soldiers, over the stage and exeunt* Edgar, 
following, leaves Gloster behind the tree, and, promising to return if he survive, exit. 

act v, sc. it] KING LEAR 7M 

Glou. No further, sir ; a man may rot even here. 8 

Edg. What, in ill thoughts again ? Men must endure 

Their going hence, even as their coming hither; 10 

Ripeness is all. Come on. 

Glou. And that's true too. [Exeunt. 

8. further] farther Qq, Cap. Coll. 1 1, all. Come] all; come Rowe ii. 
Del. Wh. Glo.+. all, come F 9 F 3 F A . all come QqF g . 

9. Two lines, Ff. Glou.] Om. Qq. 
again? Men] again* men Q,. [Exeunt.] Om. Q,. Exit. Q,. 

10. even] eifn Pope+. 

Then we have: 'Alarum and Retreat within, 9 and then « enter Edgar' with news 
of the battle lost, and the capture of Lear and Cordelia. These are no * excursions, 
and, therefore, it is plain that, though all three armies appeared on the stage with 
drums and colours immediately before the battle, no part of the battle was exhibited 
even in dumb show. It was to be made known only by the noise ' within ;' during 
which the stage was empty. Whether any curtain was to be drawn, I do not know 
enough of the scenic arrangements of that time to say. But such an interval of sus- 
pended action, so accompanied with noises of battle in the distance, would have the 
same effect as a modern inter-act, with an orchestra playing appropriate music; pro- 
vided only that it were understood to represent a period of indefinite duration. Con- 
sidering, however, that immediately after the exeunt of Cordelia, Kent, the Doctor, 
and servants carrying Lear out in his chair, the stage had to be ready for three armies 
to pass over with drums and colours, it is easy to believe that the stage-manager found 
it more convenient to make the next scene the beginning of a new Act, and to use 
the interval for drawing up his troops. 

11. Ripeness] Steevens: Compare Ham. V, ii, 2ro: 'the readiness is all.' 
"Wordsworth (p. 292): In order that it may be really ' well' with us when we 
come to die, Sh. .will tell us, no man better, what is the one thing needful. And 
with what a lightning-flash of condensed thought aud language does he teach the 
lesson ! Birch (p. 425) sees in this nothing but materialism, likening man to fruit 
which must fall. [Birch has been already quoted once before, and he might have 
been quoted much more frequently; he goes laboriously through the tragedy, find- 
ing throughout rank atheism and materialism. Two quotations are quite enough, I 
think ; perhaps two too many.— Ed.] 

316 KING LEAR [act v, sc. iii. 

Scene III. The British camp near Dover. 

Enter, in conquest, with drum and colours, Edmund; Lear and CORDELIA, at. 

prisoners; Captain, Soldiers. 

Edm. Some officers take them away ; good guard, 
Until their greater pleasures first be known 
That are to censure them. 

Car. Wc are not the first 

Who with best meaning have incurr'd the worst 
For thee, oppressed king, I am cast down; 5 

Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown. 
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters ? 

Lear. No, no, no, no. Come, let's away to prison; 
We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage. 
When thou dost ask me blessing, I '11 kneel down 10 

And ask of thee forgiveness. So we '11 live, 
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh 
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues 

Scene hi.] Scena Tertia. Ff (Scxna ending incurd, Q,. 
F t ). Scene v. Pope +. The Scene con- 3. We are] We're Pope +, Jen. Sta. 

tinued. Theob. Huds. 

The British. ..near...] Mai. The 5. lam] Ff, Rowe, Pope, Han. Sch. 

British. ..under... Cap. A Camp., Rowe. am / Qq et cet. 
Om. QqFf. 6. out-frown] outfrowne Q s . 

Enter... Captain, Soldiers.] Ff (subs.) 8. No, no, no, no] No, no Qq. 

Enter Edmund, with Lear and Cordelia 12. and sing] Om. Q a . 

prifoners. Qq. 13. hear poor rogues] keare (poor* 

2. first] bejl Qq. Rogues) F t . hear— poor rogues /— Sch. 

3-5. We, .Mown;] Two lines, the first 

2, 3. their • • • That] For instances of 'their' standing as the antecedent to the 
relative, see Abbott, § 218. Compare lines 51, 52 of this Scene. 

2. greater] Hudson : That is, the greater persons. 

3. censure] Steevens: That is, pass sentence or judgement upon them. See 
III, v, 2. 

6. out-frown] The Cambridge Editors record an Anonymous conjecture of 
outface for * out-frown,' which is happy. — Ed. 

7. sisters] Cowden Clarke: A bitter sarcasm in simplest .words, thoroughly 
characteristic in the woman of quiet expression with intense feeling. 

8. No, no, no, no.] Capell's learning at times so distorts his vision that he sees 
in these words the refrain of a song by Sir Philip Sidney (vol. i, p. 79, ed. Grosart), 
which * should be deliver' d by Lear, not perhaps absolutely singing, but with a levity 
something approaching towards it ; as is evident from the line immediately after, 
which owes it's birth to that circumstance.' 

13. Schmidt thinks that the parenthetical ' (poor rogues) ' of the Ff is more 

ACT v, SC. iii.] KING LEAR 317 

Talk of court news ; and we '11 talk with them too, 

Who loses and who wins, who's in, who's out; 15 

(And take upon 's the mystery of things, 
As if we were God's spies. And we '11 wear out, 
In a wall'd prison, packs and se£ls of great ones 
That ebb and flow by th' moon. 
Edm. Take them away. 

Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, 20 

The gods themselves throw incense. Have I caught thee? 
/ He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven, 

14. we'll talk] wt'UtalkdYf 16. upon's] upon us Cap. Steer. Ec. 
too] to Q x . Viur. Knt, Del Sing. Ktly. 

15. loses] loo/a QqF f F t F 1 . 19. by M'] bith % Q,. 
wAo , s....wAo y s] whofe^sohofe Qq. 21. Two lines, Ff. 

vrhos...whos Fj 

characteristic. [But the ' them' in the next line shows, I think, the erroneous punc- 
tuation of the Ff.— Ed.] 

17. spies] Wajlburton interprets this as 'spies placed over God Almighty, to 
watch his motions." Heath [and everybody else] understands it as ' spies com* 
missioned and enabled by God to pry into most hidden secrets.' Johnson : As if 
we were angels commissioned to survey and report the lives of men, and were con* 
sequently endowed with the power of prying into the original motives of action and 
the mysteries of conduct. 

18. packs and sects] Johnson: 'Packs' is used for combinations or collections, 
as in a pack of cards. For ' sects,' I think sets might be more commodiously read. 
So we say, ' affairs are now managed by a new set.' ' Sects,' however, may well 
stand. Moberly: Sh. had seen the fall and death of the Earl of Essex, which 
was probably in his mind here. 

20-25. Bucknill (p. 230) : This is not mania, but neither is it sound mind. It 
is the emotional excitability often seen in extreme age, as it is depicted in the early 
scenes of the drama, and it is precisely true to the probabilities of the mind's history, 
that this should be the phase of infirmity displaying itself at this moment. Any other 
dramatist than Sh. would have represented the poor old king quite restored to the 
balance and control of his faculties. The complete efficiency of filial love would 
have been made to triumph over the laws of mental function. But Sh. has repre- 
sented the exact degree of improvement which was probable under the circum- 
stances, namely, restoration from the intellectual mania which resulted from the 
combined influence of physical and moral shock, with persistence of the emotional 
excitement and disturbance which is the incurable and unalterable result of passion 
exaggerated by long habitude and by the malign influence of extreme age. 

21. incense] Warbu&ton: The thought is extremely noble, and expressed in a 
sublime of imagery that Seneca fell short of on a like occasion : ' Ecce spectaculum 
dignum ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo deus; ecce par deo dignum, vir fortis 
cum mala fortuna compositus.' 



[ACT V, SC. iii. 

And fire us hence like foxes. Wipe thine eyes ; 23 

The good-years shall devbur them, flesh and fell, 
Ere they shall make us weep ; we'll see 'em starv'd first 25 

Come. [Exeunt Lear and Cordelia, guarded. 

23. eyes] eye F,F S F 4 +. 

24. good-year s~\G\o. + , Mob. Sch. good 
yeares F t . good yeeres F t . good years 
FjF 4 , Ro we, Pope, Knt. goodQq. good- 
jers Theob. goujeres Han. Warb. Cap. 
Jen. goujeers Johns et cet. 

them] em Qq. 
JUsh"] JUach Qq. 
25, 26. ,£>/... Com*.] Pope. One line, 
Q,. Two, the first ending weepef Ff, 

25. weep;"} Pope, weepef QqFf. 
tw^, Rowe ii. 

'*«] F,F 4 , Rowe, Pope, Theob. i, 
Han, Jen. Sing. Dyce, Sta. Wh. Ktly, 
Glo. + , Huds. Sch. vm Q x . em Q,. 
•jw F x F t . them Theob. ii et cet. 

start? d] Ff+, Sch. /arm Qq et 

26. Ow.] Om. Q.. 
[Exeunt....] Theob. Om. Q,. 

Exit. (^Ff. 

23. foxes] Upton (Crit, Obs. p. 218) imagined that there is here an allusion to 
Samson's foxes, but I believe no one since Upton's time has discovered the point of 
similarity. Heath : An allusion to the practice of forcing foxes out of their holds 
by fire. Capell: But why a 'brand from heaven' to force him and his daughter 
out of their holds ? This implies, in the first place, that parting them should be a 
work of no mortal, and secondly, the expressions are ominous, like those that drop 
from poor Gloucester [III, vi, 3] ; a brand of heaven's ordaining does part them 
within a few minutes after. Steevens : Compare Harrington's trans, of Ariosto, 
B. xxvii, st. 17 : ' Ev'n as a Foxe, whom smoke and fire doth fright, So as he dare 
not in the ground remaine, Bolts out, and through smoke and fires he flieth Into the 
Tarier's mouth, and there he dieth.' 

24. good-years] Hanmer : The French disease, from the French word Gouje, 
which signifies a common camp-trull. The words Couje and Goujer were used as 
common terms of reproach among the vulgar, and the name of the disease was the 
Goujeres, Farmer : Resolute John Florio has sadly mistaken these goujeers. He 
writes, * With a good yeare to thee 1 ' and gives it in Italian, * II mal anno che dio ti 
dia.' Steevens : Golding in his Ovid, lib. iii, has fallen into the same error, or 
rather the same mis-spelling. * Perfici quid enim toties per jurgia ? dixit.' which is 
thus Anglicized : 'And what a goodyeare haue I woon by scolding erst? (she sed) '— 
p. 34. Croft (p. 20) interprets it as gougers, i. e. men who gouge out eyes. Dyce 
(Gloss,) : Cotgrave gives, ' Gouge ... a Souldiors Pug or Punke; a Whore that fol- 
lowes the Camp.' C. E. H. Morwenstow (jV. dr» Qu, vol. v, p. 607, 1852) : The 
usage of this word by Sh. is another proof that he took refuge in Cornwall, when he 
fled from the scene of his deer-stalking danger. The Goujere is the old Cornish 
name of the Fiend, or the Devil ; and is still in use among the folk- words of the 
West. [See also to the same effect, John Davies (jV. <£t» Qu., ii Mar. 1876).] 
Halliwell : ' Goodyears ' is an ignorant perversion, such as I do not think was 
penned by Sh. Wright : With the corruption of spelling, the word early lost its 
real meaning, and it is consequently found in passages where a sense opposite to the 
true one is intended. 

ACT V. SC. iii.] 



Edm. Come hither, captain ; hark. 2J 

Take thou this note ; go follow them to prison. 

One step I have advanced thee ; if thou dost 

As this instru&s thee, thou dost make thy way 3° 

To noble fortunes ; know thou this, that men 

Are as the time is ; to be tender-minded 

Does not become a sword ; thy great employment 

Will not bear question ; either say t